Tom writes: According to the attached World Bank document titled Shadow Economies All over the World, during the period 1999-2006, the shadow economy in Thailand comprised an average of 51.9% of the total Gross Domestic Product. This means that, during this period, more than half of Thailand’s economy was unofficial and untaxed, earning Thailand the dubious honor of being 84 out of the 88 developing countries surveyed.
In neighboring countries, the shadow economy is a much smaller proportion of GDP: Indonesia 19.5%, Malaysia 31.6%, Vietnam 15.4%, Philippines 41.9% and China 12.8%.
Assuming that this large shadow economy has persisted in Thailand up until today, Thailand’s purchasing power adjusted GDP per capita could be around $20,000. This puts Thailand on par with near-developed nations such as Russia, Hungary, Argentina and Poland.