Pak Mun Dam and its Impact on Local Residents of Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand: A Quantitative Analysis

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Pak Mun Dam and its Impact on Local Residents of Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand: A Quantitative Analysis

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Many dams have been built along the Mae Khong River, bringing up many issues, including that of sustainable livelihood. Pak Mun Dam is one of the most controversial dams in Thailand, and its issues have continued to today. While many studies on dams have been conducted, this is the first quantitative study, using the Structural Equation Model to understand the eight dimensions of well-being. The survey on which this dissertation is based collected 250 pieces of data for the impacted community and 250 pieces of data for the non-impacted community of the Khong Jiam district in the Ubon Ratchathani province of Thailand. The eight dimensions of well-being are based on concepts and theories about achieving sustainable livelihoods. Within these eight dimensions, there are 24 out of 40 items that have a lower mean for the impacted community, in comparison to the non-impacted community, which is statistically significant. Based on the sustainable livelihood framework model, institutions (in this case, the government) play the role of providing strategies to increase well-being assets directly in terms of overall well-being and through dimensions of well-being. In this model, the government’s interventions are public services, quality of job training, and the satisfaction level for the Pak Mun Dam solution. The empirical results of the first order factors show that there are seven factors that are statistically included as first order factors with twenty items. These twenty items represent the factors of economics, community, environment, politics, working conditions, culture, and family. Second order factors were included in the structural model as independent variables in order to predict the dependent variable of overall well-being. Economic well-being and social well-being are statistically significant factors for predicting overall well-being; they can also be mediators of the model. The results from the structural model show that there is full mediation within this model, which means that the government’s impact on overall well-being can only be explained through increasing economic and social well-being. The satisfaction level of Pak Mun Dam’s government solution would impact overall well-being through the mediation of economic well-. The government’s quality of job training and the provision of government services would impact overall well-being through social well-being. In addition to the benefit of standardized estimates of economic and social well-being, the institutions can use the twenty items to help specify factors and provide better policy to maintain sustainable livelihoods based on their precise information. The marginal rate of substitution (MRS) result also shows the relationship between economic well-being and social well-being: local community residents would give up more of their economic well-being to gain more social well-being. This shows that their social well-being is a very important factor for their livelihoods. The study is significant for six reasons. First, it is the first quantitative study of the well-being of local residents impacted by the dam; it also provides more complete information and deeper understanding about each dimension of well-being. Second, this study is the first study that combines more dimensions of well-being based on SLF into a single study. Third, it has furthered the work of existing studies with SEM to SLF to investigate the impact of the dam. Fourth, it informs policymakers so that they can provide more suitable policies to achieve sustainable livelihoods. Fifth, the study also adds the MRS concept to understand local residents’ decision-making process on well-being, and it can be used to create the well-being index and trade-off analysis for SLF projects. Last, testing the important of institute with specific needs of local residents would be more efficient for SLF project.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2020. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisor: William Gartner. 1 computer file (PDF); 2 x, 200 pages.

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Chaiyamart, Pattaraphongpan. (2020). Pak Mun Dam and its Impact on Local Residents of Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand: A Quantitative Analysis. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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