The Prospects and Limitations of Bureaucratic Reforms in Thailand since 2014

  • Sittipol Pacharoen Department of Local Administration, the Ministry of Interior
Keywords: bureaucratic reform, Thailand, international legitimacy


This article analyzes the ongoing attempt of the Prayut government to improve the quality of public service over the last three years (May 2014 – the first quarter of 2017). Both the opportunities and limitations of bureaucratic reforms will be discussed. The existing literature on political reform under non-democratic regimes found that recently the durability of these regimes largely depends on their performance legitimacy or output legitimacy, rather than repressive power. This scholarship, however, is limited by the boundary of domestic politics. Hence, this article will fill the gap by providing a broader analytical framework for examination on the international landscape. It argues that the international environment provides contested international instruments, values, and norms for the Thai military government to legitimize the regime by enhancing bureaucratic performance through a series of reform measures and policies responding to international standards. These include international rankings, international development goals, and the standardization of public service. Notwithstanding, the continuing processes and outcomes of public administrative reform in practice appear to be constrained by the legacies of the Thai state, which might reproduce some similar unintended consequences of the 1997 reform.


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How to Cite
Pacharoen, S. (2017). The Prospects and Limitations of Bureaucratic Reforms in Thailand since 2014. Social Science Asia, 3(4), 1-16. Retrieved from
Research Article