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Title: Crossing borders : the implications of labour migration on well-being for the rural households in northeast Thailand
Author: Maeng, Joon-Ho
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 4129
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis looks at the relationship between labour migration and socio-economic well-being of the rural households in the communities in Northeastern Thailand, and provides one of the few detailed case studies of the costs and benefits of labour mobility within Southeast Asian labour market system. This research aims to deepen our understanding of the implications of labour migration at micro-level. More specifically, the study aims to examine 'how much such labour migration and remittances do support the rural households and their family members left-behind?' by seeking a holistic assessment based on well-being perspectives with mixed-methods approach. To appreciate this question, we must first understand that there has been rapid economic development and change in Thailand over the past decades, and Thailand is now a leading economy in Southeast Asia that is evolving into a global and regional migration hub for outgoing, incoming, and transiting migrants. The rural communities in Northeastern Thailand, however, have experienced economic and environmental marginality, and as a result, have developed an institutionalised and self-sustaining migration culture after the Vietnam War in 1975. Yet existing research does not tell us much about what are the consequences of the labour migration on well-being for the households in this area. The research explores associations between remittance behaviours and gender difference using sex-disaggregated data, measures dimensions of poverty alleviating effects on the three Foster-Greer-Thorbecke poverty indices, and assesses economic well-being of the rural households (on the basis of differing participation in labour migration) and non-economic well-being of the family left-behind. On the evidence of this research with various levels of significance in regression analyses, international labour migration and remittances have several implications on rural households in Northeastern Thailand. Firstly, the results show that women and migrants from poorer households behave more altruistically, while men and migrants from richer households behave more contractually. These heterogeneities in remittance behaviours also linked to the asset accumulation patterns for migrants' own future well-being and related to inheritance culture of the rural Thais. Secondly, labour migration is a rational economic strategy of rural households to combat poverty and to improve economic well-being. The analysis reveals clearly that the entire income gap and most of the gap in economic well-being between households with and without migrants can be accounted by availability of remittances. However, the remittances also increase economic inequality (i.e. disparities in well-being) among households in the communities as well-known. Finally, the absence of adult children (for the elderly) or parents (for children) because of international labour migration does not create major disruptions of the non-economic well-being of the family members. The possibilities for frequent correspondence, returns, and the economic benefits of migration contribute to cushion the negative impacts of migration. Most of all, the extended family system plays a decisive role in functioning as a support mechanism.
Supervisor: Bracking, Sarah; Ulku, Hulya Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: labour migration ; remittance ; household ; poverty ; well-being ; Thailand