Policy transfer in privatisation : Thailand's experience with telecommunications

  • Issariyaporn Chulajata

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis addresses privatisation as a topic of particular significance to the transformation of state and state activity in most countries over the last two decades. It does this with reference to Thailand’s telecommunications arrangements in light of ideas about policy transfers and policy networks. These ideas have been well discussed and debated in recent years and are relevant to an analysis of privatisation initiatives in the area of telecommunications, just as they are in many other areas of public policy and management. The ideas and the privatisation developments to which they are related in the thesis have assumed even greater importance in an era of globalisation in which systems, policies, practices and networks are internationalised while also domestically oriented. These matters are recognised as the discussion unfolds in the thesis. The thesis also considers the adequacy of existing theories of policy transfer in the light of Thailand’s telecommunications privatisation experience. This thesis provides grounding upon which contemporary telecommunications privatisation policy transfer issues can be contextualised and understood. This thesis refers to elements from policy transfer frameworks and a network perspective to examine policy transfer. Applying policy transfer and policy networking into a conceptual framework is a useful tool to explain the motivations of policy makers who engage in the policy transfer process, the type of policy transfer that takes place, and the different agents that enter or exit the policy arena. In addition to defining the key terms underpinning privatisation policy transfer and network analysis, this thesis has identified some of the key players, organisations and structures that propagate the telecommunications privatisation policy network. While the analysis of policy transfer has been examined at both the national and local levels, policy actors are increasingly enmeshed in privatisation transfer processes and relationships that extend across national borders, and the network metaphor neatly encapsulates relationships and transfers that are both national and international in scope. Despite a burgeoning literature on cross-national policy transfer, there have been few of any systematic case studies to identify problems or complications in the practice of policy transfer. The process of privatisation needs to take into account the interplay of various historical, political, economic, legal, cultural and social elements. The thesis therefore used a broad perspective covering the range of factors, actors, conditions and circumstances that have facilitated or inhibited the development and eventual privatisation of SOEs in the telecommunications sector. This thesis then sets forth a model of privatisation policy transfer in Thailand taking into account the interaction among domestic and international actors. This simple model, far from being static, has been developed to capture the dynamic and complex network of interrelationships in policy transfer involving international and domestic stakeholders. Telecommunications privatisation policy transfer to Thailand highlights the constant interactions among multiple stakeholders, both domestic and international, during the privatisation policy transfer process. The thesis, although focuses on a developing country-Thailand- and on a specific sector, the conclusions drawn can be generally applicable to policy transfer whether undertaken in developed or developing countries. The thesis discovers that policy transfer emerges as a complex, non-linear process. To understand this process, the thesis traces the elements that have both driven and inhibited privatisation, thereby revealing the unique aspects confronting Thailand in its move to transform the ownership structures practices and policy frameworks inherited from the past. As will be argued, political instability and disagreements over policy frameworks and transparency have effected privatisation, and hence the ultimate outcomes of the telecommunications privatisation process in Thailand remain uneven and unclear.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMark Turner (Supervisor) & Jenny STEWART (Supervisor)

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