The Utilization of Labor in Thailand: Two Approaches to Measurement

Hanenberg, Robert Steven

     People whose labor is inadequately utilized (that is, under-employed) work less efficiently than their potential. Since the potential level of efficiency may be defined differently depending on the special circumstances and needs of a society at a given time, it is not possible to measure the adequacy of labor utilization in the same way for all populations. . . . The objective of this monograph is to compare two systems of measurement, the one currently in general use, called the 'Labor Force Approach,' and the other called the 'Labor Utilization Framework.' . . . In this monograph the Labor Force Approach will be evaluated as it has been applied in Thailand since 1963."
     The hypotheses to be tested in this monograph are: (1) That the Labor Force Approach, although originating in circumstances quite different from those in underdeveloped countries today, can and has been an exceedingly useful tool for analysis in underdeveloped countries, if its use in Thailand is typical; (2) However, the limitations of the Labor Force Approach, when not constantly borne in mind, can and have led to incorrect policy recommendations; (3) Moreover, the Labor Force Approach has failed as far as its ultimate purpose is concerned, that is, of measuring the utilization of labor of the whole population; (4) The Labor Utilization Framework, while retaining all the advantages of the Labor Force Approach, provides much more information relevant for policy purposes. This is because unemployment is only one form of inadequate labor utilization, which affects only one small part of the labor force, whereas the other forms of inadequate labor utilization, which the Labor Utilization Framework measures, affect all parts of the labor force.
     To test these hypotheses data collected since 1963 in Thailand under the Labor Force Approach and data collected in three special surveys in 1973-74 using the Labor Utilization Framework will be analyzed.