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Thaksin Shinawatra was one of the most powerful prime ministers
of Thailand. Undergirded by a set of new policies termed Thaksinomics,
great political power, his CEO style of management, and his intention to
make Thailand a developed country, his administration could have been a
formidable force in transforming Thailand’s weak and fragmented innovation
system into a stronger and more coherent one and in laying a long-lasting
foundation for the country’s technological and industrial upgrading, as
experienced in Japan and the East Asian NIEs. Thaksin’s administration paid
much attention to the neglected meso and micro foundations of Thailand’s
competiveness. For the frst time, Thailand had explicit vertical industrial
policies that were tailored to specifc sectors and geographical clusters.
These policies pushed existing central and regional government agencies
to adjust themselves accordingly. Thaksin’s government also induced
changes in the roles and behaviours of other actors in the country’s national
innovation system. Nonetheless the government, to a large extent, failed to
make an enduring impact on industrial and technology upgrading. There
are two key factors underlying this failure: (a) defciencies of Thaksin’s
policies and implementation of those policies themselves and (b) resistance
to changes by other actors in the national innovation system.
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