Years of Good Life: An illustration of a new well-being indicator using data for Thailand

Author : Thananon Buathong, Anna Dimitrova, Paolo Miguel M. Vicerra and Montakarn Chimmamee


While Thailand has achieved high levels of economic growth in recent decades, poverty at the local level has been increasing. Indicators of human development at the national level often mask the differences in well-being across communities. When responding to the need for sustainable development research, the heterogeneity of a population should be emphasised to ensure that no one is left behind. The Years of Good Life (YoGL) is a well-being indicator that demonstrates the similarities and differences between subpopulations in a given sociocultural context over time. The data used in this analysis were collected from Chiang Rai and Kalasin, which are provinces located in regions of Thailand with high poverty rates. Our main results indicate that the remaining years of good life (free from physical and cognitive limitations, out of poverty and satisfied with life) at age 20 among the sample population were 26 years for women and 28 years for men. The results varied depending on the indicators applied in each dimension of YoGL. Our analysis of the YoGL constituents indicated that cognitive functioning was the dimension that decreased the years of good life the most in the main specification. This study demonstrates the applicability of the YoGL methodology in investigating the wellbeing of subpopulations.

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