Basic Needs and Wealth as Independent Determinants of Happiness: An Illustration from Thailand
AbstractThailand has been a global economic success story, transforming from one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, to a modern and dynamic nation, and all within the lifetime of the current generation. However, growth has been accompanied by marked increases in economic inequality both at the regional and individual levels. In this context studying how relatively poor people appraise their situation (‘subjective wellbeing’) and how this relates to traditional ‘objective’ measures of wellbeing such as wealth and basic needs is particularly relevant. This paper investigates the relationship between basic needs as defined by the Theory of Human needs (THN, Doyal and Gough 1991 ), material wealth and happiness. Specifically, we intend to answer the following research question: Are wealth and basic needs indicators always interchangeable when analyzing happiness determinants in low income settings? The paper focuses on seven communities in the South and North-east of Thailand with contrasting levels of access to markets and services. It challenges the common assumption that at low economic levels, wealth or income matter for people’s happiness because they increase satisfaction of basic needs, arguing instead that wealth might contribute to happiness for personal or symbolic reasons, which are not related to the use of goods as basic needs satisfiers. Thus, it suggests that indicators of wealth and basic needs should not be used interchangeably when studying happiness determinants in low income settings. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.
Volume (Year): 110 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
- Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2004.
"Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society,"
Economics Series Working Papers
WPS/2004-21, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2007. "Community, comparisons and subjective well-being in a divided society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 69-90, September.
- Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2005. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," Working Papers 05095, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
- Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," Development and Comp Systems 0409067, EconWPA.
- Robert Biswas-Diener & Ed Diener, 2001. "Making the Best of a Bad Situation: Satisfaction in the Slums of Calcutta," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 329-352, September.
- Robert Cummins, 2003. "Normative Life Satisfaction: Measurement Issues and a Homeostatic Model," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 64(2), pages 225-256, November.
- Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener, 2002. "Will Money Increase Subjective Well-Being?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 119-169, February.
- Des Gasper, 2005. "Subjective and Objective Well-Being in Relation to Economic Inputs: Puzzles and Responses," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 177-206.
- Ed Diener & Richard Lucas, 2000. "Explaining Differences in Societal Levels of Happiness: Relative Standards, Need Fulfillment, Culture, and Evaluation Theory," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 41-78, March.
- Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
- Rojas, Mariano, 2004. "Well-being and the Complexity of Poverty: A Subjective Well-being Approach," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004.
"How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- Michael Eid & Ed Diener, 2004. "Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 245-277, February.
- Desai, Meghnad & Shah, Anup, 1988. "An Econometric Approach to the Measurement of Poverty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 505-22, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.