The notion of “regulatory capture” is typically used to describe the takeover of state agencies by outside interest groups that seek to weaken regulation and advance the agendas of interest groups through control over state policy levers. This concept can be contrasted with that of “developmental capture” of state agencies by networks of reformist bureaucrats within the state who seek to promote inclusive state social and developmental policies of benefit to the broader populace. Building on work that has pointed to instances in which state bureaucrats act autonomously from societal and political pressures, this article argues that existing explanations are insufficient for explaining Thailand's universal health care policy. It points to the critical role played by a network of bureaucrats within the state who strategically mobilized resources in the bureaucracy, political parties, civil society, and international organizations to institutionalize universal health care in the face of broader professional dissent, political uncertainty, and international pressure.

You do not currently have access to this content.