Thailand is the second-largest economy in southeast Asia, and the fourth largest in the region in terms of population. During its period of rapid industrialization, Thai domestic capital was dominated by a handful of domestic banks and 20 to 30 major conglomerates. Most of these institutions were controlled by families of Chinese origin. This structure was significantly changed as a result of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Although absolute poverty has declined in the past two decades, Thailand has relatively weak redistributive policies. Income inequality has thus played a crucial role in shaping the Red Shirt and Yellow Shirt political turmoil over the past few years.

The kingdom of Thailand, called Siam until 1939, has been headed by the Chakri Dynasty since 1782. The country ...

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