Reaching across the Mekong: Local Socioeconomic and Gender Effects of Lao-Thai Crossborder Linkages

José Edgardo Gomez, Jr., Nittana Southiseng, John Walsh, Samuel Sapuay


Following trade agreements between ASEAN states, the expansion of cross-border roads and bridges between Laos and Thailand has linked local communities and distant markets in increasingly diverse ways. Although the planned impacts of such integration are expected to be beneficial, effects on the ground vary, as witnessed at a sleepy outpost in Xayabury and a more vibrant crossing in Savannakhet. This paper discusses first the physical setting of such border facilities, and then explores their actual local effects on traders’ activities, highlighting changes in gender roles and perceptions of entrepreneurial competition participated in by women in the two research sites.

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