Working Paper BETA #2018-42

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Title : Subjective well-being and social comparison: A comparative study on rural Thailand and Vietnam

Author(s) : Thi Kim Cuong Pham, Phu Nguyen-Van, Huu Thanh-Tam Nguyen, Thi Anh-Dao Tran and Kone Noukignonb

Abstract : This paper analyzes the determinants of the households’ welfare perception using a survey database on rural areas in Thailand and Vietnam which have similar economic and social conditions. Welfare perception corresponds to the households’ subjective assessment of their general situations. We focus on the social comparison and take into account geographical isolation, relative poverty, harsh living conditions, economic and environmental risks as well as the households’ degree of risk acceptance. Our study shows that households, in both countries, are sensitive to income and relative poverty, but only Thai households are concerned with wealth comparison. In particular, this comparison is asymmetric. Environmental risks as well as households’ attitude to risks differently affect the households’ well-being in both countries. However, we observe a similarity in the effect of the risks’ monetary consequences.

Key-words : environmental risks, economic risks; rural area, social comparison; subjective well-being

JEL Classification : I31; O12; Q56