"This fascinating and accessible text describes Townsend's field research efforts in Thailand that span over 15 years, making it perhaps the longest running, high-frequency panel data set in a developing country. The survey has provided detailed and accurate information about household financial activities and behavior, allowing a better understanding of how household decisions have an impact on the regional and national economy. One can see from the Townsend Thai Data what is actually happening at a household level, via annual panel data for 985 households in over 50 villages and separately, 150 months of in-depth monthly data for 680 households. The book is also uniquely about the human side of the story of the Townsend Thai project, and should appeal to a broader audience of practicing social scientists and their students who need to gather data and run surveys to do evaluations. The book is unique: it grows out of Townsend's deep and extended experiences working as a development economist in Thailand and attempting to relate rigorous academic research with policy via one of the longest-running surveys of its kind. The book is told as a compelling story, and is in part a window into Thai culture. The reader learns what it is really like working with survey staff and households on the ground in a developing country. The book carefully relates the problems encountered and how they were resolved in collecting the data. It also provides important technical details to clarify the sampling procedures, the survey instruments, the response rates, data quality checks, and attrition"--Provided by publisher.
Introduction : the history of the Townsend Thai surveys Discovering a country and a collaborator The baseline survey : 60,000 questions in two months The annual resurveys : the financial crisis and beyond The monthly surveys Developing the information systems : local knowledge and global technologies Dreams and reality : expanding the project Forging new ground : expanding to urban areas Looking back : reflections of a survey veteran Epilogue : research findings & policy recommendations / by Robert M. Townsend.