Wellbeing of Return Migrants in Rural the Northeast Thailand: Acquiring Material Wealth to Maintain Subjective Wellbeing

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Buapun PROMPHAKPING , Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
Wellbeing of Return Migrants in Rural the Northeast of Thailand: Acquiring Material Wealth to Maintain Subjective Wellbeing[1]

Buapun Promphakping[2]


There has been a popular view concerned with negative impacts of migration of rural people to seek jobs in modern economic sector. This type of arguments emulated family breakdown, loss of land, environmental degradation, increase indebtedness, etc. This notion therefore suggests that migration will result in ill-being of rural dwellers. This paper explores the implication of migration on wellbeing of return migrants in the Northeast of Thailand. This paper argues that while migrant leave their village in seeking material wealth, they continue to maintain a high value on bonds and relationships to their natal village. The bonds they have to their rural village limited their objective wellbeing, because of low returns of agricultural and low wage works in rural. But the limited seeking material wealth through migration on the one hand also enhances or fulfils their subjective wellbeing. This study also found that the rich seems to be experienced higher happiness after returning to the village, while the poor do not experience subjective wellbeing in the same manner.

Key words: wellbeing, migration, the Northeast of Thailand, Development


[1] The data is drawn from the research project titled “Personalizing the Middle Income Trap”. Members of this research includes Jonathan Riggs, Ann Le Mare, and Buapun Promphakping.  

[2] Associate Professor, Director of Research Group on Wellbeing and Sustainable Development, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, KK University Thailand 40002 e-mail buapun@kku.ac.th