Capital flows and political conflicts: Evidence from Thailand
How do domestic political conflicts affect capital flows into Thailand? This article advances the current understanding in two ways. First, it adopts a new method for measuring political uncertainty using Thai-language newspapers over the past 20 years. Given that the nature of political conflicts is multi-faceted, these measures cover the various key components of Thai political tensions—both within and outside of parliament. Second, how different types of tensions affect capital flows are examined using a quantile regression framework—allowing an examination of effects upon the overall distribution of capital flows. The empirical results indicate that Thai political conflicts significantly and adversely affect both foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment at the left tails of their distribution. The results also highlight how different types of political conflicts affect capital flows in different ways. For example, uncertainty about a military coup and government measures regarding martial law or emergency decrees have a strong negative effect upon foreign direct investment flows; whereas heightened political protest and news about constitutional reform play a significant role in explaining the risk reversal of foreign portfolio investment flows.
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