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Universal and Local Reconciled: Exploring Satisfaction with Universal and Local Goals in Thailand and Bangladesh

Abstract

This paper explores factors affecting individual goal satisfaction in Bangladesh and Thailand. Analysing the determinants of goal satisfaction in two countries at different levels of development enables the paper to address the broader question of whether the common practice of classifying goals as ‘universal’ (e.g. health) or ‘local’ (e.g. community relationships) has any empirical support. The study uses data from communities in Thailand and Bangladesh that were researched from 2002 to 2007 by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Wellbeing in Developing Countries Research Group at the University of Bath. Results from the study based on regression analysis show that universal and local goals have the same determinants, supporting the view that they are interdependent. The implications of this finding are that both types of goals should be given equal priority and need to be taken into account to better understand people’s wellbeing. This finding is, however, moderated by the second finding of the paper, which is that socio-economic variables and the extent of need satisfaction play different roles in explaining goal satisfaction in countries at different stages of development. For example, whilst in Bangladesh wealth only contributes to goal satisfaction if it increases needs satisfaction, in Thailand it has an independent effect. The implications of both findings for global frameworks such as the Millennium Development Goals are addressed in the conclusions.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See Sen (1984) and http://www.ophi.org.uk/.

  2. 2.

    The correlation coefficient between the wealth index and the type of roof of the house was 0.55 in Bangladesh and 0.31 in Thailand, which suggests that the index is capturing the economic level of the household. Factor scores derived from using principal component analysis on the asset items and forcing a one-factor solution were also positively correlated with the wealth index (0.67 in Bangladesh and 0.40 in Thailand). The difference in the correlation coefficient between Thailand and Bangladesh might reflect the limitations of a cross-nationally comparative questionnaire in capturing culturally specific assets.

  3. 3.

    In addition to the OLS model, an ordered probit model was used for the goal variables. The results were quite similar using both models.

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Correspondence to Monica Guillen-Royo.

Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 8 and 9.

Table 8 The WeD communities in Northeast and South Thailand
Table 9 The WeD communities in Bangladesh

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Guillen-Royo, M., Camfield, L. & Velazco, J. Universal and Local Reconciled: Exploring Satisfaction with Universal and Local Goals in Thailand and Bangladesh. Soc Indic Res 113, 627–645 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0293-z

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Keywords

  • Local
  • Universal
  • Needs
  • Bangladesh
  • Thailand
  • Wellbeing
  • MDGs