NOTE: UNDER CONSTRUCTION October 2006
Growth, Social Inequality, and Environmental Change in Thailand and Cambodia
National Science Foundation,
Human and Social Dynamics Program Grant # BCS-0433787
PI: Alan L. Kolata, University
of Chicago; Co-I: Michael W.
Binford, University of Florida,
Robert M. Townsend, University
Project Summary from Proposal
Intellectual Merit: Globally,
studies of developing economies show
that social inequality and cross-household variability of income growth
larger than conventional economic factors can explain.
We hypothesize that environmental, social,
cultural, and historical variation interact with economic factors and
households, villages, and regions differentially, explaining inequality
large amount of the residual variance in income growth.
To test this hypothesis, we will examine
social, cultural, historical and environmental factors and construct
the rural, peri-urban, and national economies in Thailand
in the Lower
Mekong River Basin.
We deploy the methods and insights of the
spatial social sciences, especially spatial statistics, analysis of
sensed images, development of geographic information systems (GIS), and
testing and refinement of formal economic models based on new and
empirical data sets. We propose here to
the interacting social, economic, and ecological processes that have
economic growth, the emergence or intensification of social inequality
dynamics of land-use and environmental change.
The original contribution of our proposed research will be to
natural and social science analysis of distinct social, economic, and
variables to answer the question of how and to what extent
cultural variability affects economic behavior and decision making. The work products of the study will be: (1)
extensive empirical data sets and conceptual models that relate both
(e.g., deforestation, water quality, land-use change) and social (e.g.,
migration patterns, income inequality, cultural practices) variables to
economic growth; and (2) tests of predictions made by formal models. The results of the proposed research have
broad implications for understanding the whole Earth system, especially
ecological and socioeconomic bases of land-use, land-conversion, and
sustainability in environments that are experiencing increasing
activity, periodic social crises, and consequent environmental
project will contribute to the development
of research and education capacity in Cambodia
and Thailand, as
among advanced Ph.D. students in several disciplines in the United States,
and contribute to
the development of economic, social, and environmental policy in
countries. The data sets and models that we produce will be useful not
fundamental understanding of the human-environment system, but also for
planning and managing the kinds of land-cover conversion that may occur
future, especially in the context of newly developed or developing
like Thailand and Cambodia.
Our data sets and models will be useful to government and
development agencies, landscape planners, and natural resource managers
developing countries. Our questionnaires, sampling design, protocols,
codebooks, users notes, and related information necessary to field the
existing Thai and Cambodian surveys will be placed online as will the
socioeconomic, ethnographic, and climate data themselves when ready for
release. Women and ethnic minorities in the U.S.
and abroad play key roles as
research associates, scientific technicians, survey team leaders and
data entry technicians, among other roles.
We are focused quite explicitly on training, education, and
capital development in rural areas. We
collaborate intensively with several Thai Universities (Thammasat,
Chulalongkorn, Kaesetsart), both with faculty and students writing
theses or working on the project, and with government agencies and
(e.g., Bank of Thailand., Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural
contributing to capacity building in basic research and policy
Cambodia, we collaborate closely with several government ministries
of the Environment, Ministry of Planning) and the Center for Khmer
international NGO contributing to the reconstruction of the
infrastructure, educational training programs, and research capacities
aftermath of the Khmer Rouge destruction of civil society.
to pdf file of full proposal.
Link to poster presented at 2006 PI meeting of the HSD program
Link to presentation by Binford et al. to the 2005 Human Dimensions
to presentation by Binford et al. to the 2006 AAG meeting
Link to First Annual Report
to the National Science Foundation
Images of Thailand (vast
rice agriculture, industry), Cambodia (Angkor Wat, Otdar Meanchey rice
agriculture, deforestation), and both: satellite imagery.
Border between Sisaket,
Thailand and Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia
Cambodia senior research team in
conference in Siem Reap making study village selections: (l-r): Alan
Kolata, Michael Binford, Kee, Ayrine Uk
Graduate students Andrea Brown (l) and
Lin Cassidy (r) collecting ground data for satellite remote sensing
image analysis on Phnom Kulen, Cambodia.