Working Papers

Material Incentive Motivation and Working Memory Performance of Kindergartners: A Large-Scale Randomized Controlled Trial
Weerachart T. Kilenthong, Warabud Suppalarkbunlue, Sartja Duangchaiyoosook and Varunee Khruapradit,
PIER Discussion Paper, Aug 30, 2022.


This paper investigates the effect of material incentive motivation on the working memory performance of kindergartners using a large-scale randomized controlled trial covering 7,123 children from 19 provinces of Thailand. This study measures working memory of young children using the digit span task. The first gfinding is that material incentive motivation raises the working memory performance of young children (p < 0.05) but the impact is not practically significant (less than 4 percents of the mean of the control group). The second one is that young children with different background characteristics respond to material incentive motivation uniformly except with respect to child age. The third finding is that school readiness is the most predictive variable for the working memory performance of young children.

Intergenerational Transmission of Time Preferences: An Evidence from Rural Thailand
Weerachart T. Kilenthong, Suparee Boonmanunt, Sartja Duangchaiyoosook, Wasinee Jantorn and Varunee Khruapradit,
PIER Discussion Paper, May 6, 2022.


This study investigates the association between child and caregiver time preferences in rural Thailand. We find that caregiver discount factor is positively correlated to a child’s ability to delay gratification, indicating that patient children are more likely to have patient caregivers. This correlation exists regardless of whether the caregiver is a biological parent or not. However, some evidence suggests genetic contribution in intergenerational transmission of time preferences: this correlation is stronger when both biological parents live at home than when none is present, and mother’s time preferences is stronger correlated with child time preferences than grandmother’s.

Learning Losses from School Closure due to the COVID-19 Pandemic for Thai Kindergartners
Weerachart T. Kilenthong and Khanista Boonsanong, Sartja Duangchaiyoosook, Wasinee Jantorn and Varunee Khruapradit,
PIER Discussion Paper, March 10, 2022.


This paper presents empirical evidence of learning losses from school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic for kindergartners using a large-scale school readiness survey in Thailand. Its findings indicate that school closure during the outbreak of COVID-19 causes enormous learning losses in cognitive skills, especially in mathematics and working memory. The negative impact is heterogeneous across several dimensions, including child gender, special needs, wealth, having private tutoring, caregiver’s education and parental absence. This paper also estimates daily learning gains, of which significant results confirm that going to school has significantly benefited young children, especially in receptive language, mathematics and working memory.

Parental Time and Material Investments in Rural Thailand
Weerachart T. Kilenthong and Dinh Thi Ngoc Tu,
PIER Discussion Paper, September 2017, Online Appendix,
(This is an older version of “Do Parental Absence and Children’s Gender Affect Early Childhood Investment? Evidence from Rural Thailand”, accepted for publication at the Singapore Economic Review.)


This paper studies the roles of family structure, wage and child’s gender on parental time and material investments in rural Thailand. Our findings consistently show that female children received more time, but less material investments. The material investment was significantly lower for children in households with no parents, while the difference in time investment was not significant. Based on an economic model of parental investment, these results suggest the factor share of time relative to material input is larger for girls and households with no parents. We also identified the elasticity of substitution between time and material investments, which suggests that both of the inputs are surprisingly complementary. We cannot reject that the skill formation is a Cobb-Douglas production function.

The Impact of Family Business Apprenticeship on Entrepreneurship and Survival of Small Businesses: Evidence from Thailand
Weerachart T. Kilenthong and Kittipong Rueanthip. PIER Discussion Paper, June 2016,
(This is an older version of “Entrepreneurship and Family Businesses in Thailand”, accepted for publication at Asian-Pacific Economic Literature.)


This paper investigates the impact of exposure to a family business and participating in a family business on individuals decision to start a business (self-employed and small business) and their likelihood of survival. We find that individuals who have a family member doing business are more likely to start their own business. However, only individuals who have actually worked in the family-owned business are more likely to survive longer. This paper demonstrates that the higher the number of hours they worked in a family business, the higher the probability of survival. The impact remains significant even if the sample includes only individuals who are the spouses of business owners. The impact of prior experience from helping a family business depreciates over a short period of time. This result suggests that entrepreneurial skills can be learned from an apprenticeship in small businesses.

Segregated Security Exchanges with Ex Ante Rights to Trade: A Market-Based Solution to Collateral-Constrained Externalities
Weerachart T. Kilenthong and Robert M. Townsend, NBER Working Paper, May 2014.


This paper studies a competitive general equilibrium model with default and endogenous collateralized contracts. The possibility of trade in spot markets creates externalities, as spot prices and the bindingness of collateral constraints interact. We propose a market based solution which overcomes the externalities problem and obviates the needs for any government policy intervention. If agents are allowed to contract ex ante on market fundamentals determining the state-contingent spot prices used to unwind collateral, over and above contracting on true underlying states of the world, then standard existence and welfare theorems apply, that is, competitive equilibria are equivalent with Pareto optima.

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