Understanding the Differential Drivers of Export Performance in the Thai Clothing and Textile Sectors: A Firm-Level Analysis of Distribution Activities and Constraints

  • Sarit Chokchainirand

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


This research paper focuses on Thailand's textile and clothing industry since its liberalisation in 1995. The industry used to be the number one generator of export income for Thailand. As exports strongly declined in the late 1990s, the Thai government employed 'industrial policy' to reignite the industry in 2003 and 2007. However, the policies have had little effect on the export pattern. We argue that the way government sees the industry is inappropriate and leads to ineffective industrial policy.The research findings illustrate that industrial analysis at 'macro' or 'aggregate' level is weak and impractical. These high-level analyses do not give policy makers and government a clear understanding of the industry, structure or drivers of performance. Furthermore, we are unable to identify common factors that differentiate well-performing firms from poorly performing firms. The aggregate level data make it difficult for policy makers or government to see what key success factors to focus on in this complex and dynamic business environment. There is no obvious 'model' that distinguishes those firms or sectors that do well and grow, against those which do not. So rather than focus on aggregate level, government and policy makers should focus on firm-specific characteristics, strategies or business models that differentiate them from others. Government needs to understand in depth the specific industry structure of the sector and the relationship between key players. This will help it to understand its role and the measures it can use to support the private sector. This new method may consume more time and require better skills and knowledge from researchers and policy makers. The approach requires committed researchers with strong strategic and analytical skills who can divide or dissect the industry into various sub-groups, and policy makers with better mindsets. But most importantly, problematic policy is a result of a fragmented policymaking process that stems from poor economic governance.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRichard Phillips (Supervisor)


  • Industrial Policy
  • Competitiveness
  • Thailand
  • Textile and Clothing Industry

Cite this