Urbani izziv Volume 24, No. 1, June 2013
Thammsat University, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Bangkok, Thailand
Development of regional growth centres and impact on regional growth: A case study of Thailand’s Northeastern region
This study investigates the spatial economic structure and inequality in Thailand at the national and regional levels, with a particular focus on the Northeastern region in the period from 1987 to 2007. The study has three main points: 1) examination of the economic structure and inequality at the national level and in the Northeastern region according to the Theil index, 2) determination of regional growth centres and satellite towns by using growth pole theory as a conceptual framework and incorporating spatial interaction analysis and 3) analysis of the relationship between regional growth centres and satellite towns with regard to the impact on growth and inequality. The results show that the Northeastern region is definitely the lagging region in the nation, by both gross domestic product (GDP) and gross regional product (GRP) per capita. It was therefore selected for a case study. Spatial analysis identified Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani as regional growth centres. Each of them has its own sphere of influence (or satellite towns), and the total area of regional growth centres and satellite towns are classified as sub-regions. The development of regional growth centres has a direct impact on sub-regional economic growth through economic and social relationships: urbanisation, industrial development, per capita growth, the number of higher educational institutes and so on. However, such growth negatively correlates with economic equality among the provinces in a sub-region. The inequality trend is obviously on an upswing. This study suggests that industrial links between regional growth centres and their satellite towns should be improved in order for regional growth centre development to have a consistently desirable effect on both economic growth and equality. Such a strong process means that the growth of regional growth centres will spread, leading to the development of their surrounding areas.
regional economic growth and inequality, growth pole, regional growth centres, regional decentralisation