Wants, Needs and Satisfaction: A Comparative Study in Thailand and Bangladesh

Abstract

Within international development greater income is assumed to lead to greater need fulfilment, which increases subjective wellbeing. The Wellbeing in Developing Countries ESRC Research Group’s dataset provides an opportunity to test these relationships using measures of income, expenditure, perceived and ‘objective’ need satisfaction and subjective wellbeing collected in Bangladesh and Thailand. The paper demonstrates that firstly, location and socio-economic status are related to both what people say they need, and the extent to which they feel they have satisfied these needs; secondly, there is a close correlation between objective and subjective need satisfaction, indicating that people’s perceptions of need satisfaction are accurate; and thirdly, there is a significant positive relationship between expenditure on basic need fulfilment and subjective and objective need satisfaction.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See Graham and Pettinatto (2002), Fafchamps and Forhad (2003), and Kingdon and Knight (2004) for examples from developing countries.

  2. 2.

    http://www.bath.ac.uk/econ-dev/wellbeing/research/methods-toobox/qol-toolbox.htm.

  3. 3.

    http://www.bath.ac.uk/econ-dev/wellbeing/research/methods-toobox/ies-toolbox.htm.

  4. 4.

    Ryan and Deci’s group have tested their ‘Self-determination Theory’ using quantitative methods in North America, Europe, the former Eastern bloc and South-east Asia (see http://www.psych.rochester.edu/SDT/index.html).

  5. 5.

    ‘Living conditions’ comprise ‘quality of life’ and ‘living standards’ (Allardt 1975).

  6. 6.

    See Taylor and Brown (1988) and Gilbert et al. (1998) for psychological explanations of this process.

  7. 7.

    A second paper using the same sample (Guillen-Royo et al. 2009) found equally robust results from a single composite indicator of needs deprivation (INDI).

  8. 8.

    ‘Do not have’ was included as a further response option but this was not included in calculating mean scores or weighting.

  9. 9.

    Basic House and Home has the same items as House and Home, but omits the four items that form part of the Luxuries factor.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the intellectual contribution of Alison Woodcock who developed the WeDQoL measure in conjunction with the WeD team. The support of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is gratefully acknowledged. The work was part of the programme of the ESRC Research Group on Wellbeing in Developing Countries.

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Correspondence to Laura Camfield.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 3.

Table 3 Correlations between objective and subjective need fulfillment indicators in RANQ, SWLS and WeDQoL

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Camfield, L., Guillen-Royo, M. Wants, Needs and Satisfaction: A Comparative Study in Thailand and Bangladesh. Soc Indic Res 96, 183–203 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-009-9477-y

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Keywords

  • Thailand
  • Bangladesh
  • Needs
  • Wants
  • Wellbeing
  • Subjective wellbeing