Wednesday, February 27, 2008

World's most expensive royal family

Outside of the Middle East, what is the world's most expensive royal family? Two contenders for the title are the UK and the Thai royals.

How much do the Thai and British royals cost their respective taxpayers?

  • Thai Royal Household*
  • 1.95 billion baht = US $65 million
  • British Royal Family cost to taxpayer
  • 37 million GBP = US $74 million
If you consider the question of "purchasing power parity," it is evident that your money goes twice as far in Thailand as in Britain.** The Thai Royal Household budget delivers twice the purchasing power as the UK Royals' budget.

The populations are roughly the same. There are 65 million Thais as compared with 61 million British subjects. So it's as if every Thai pays $1.00 a year to support the Thai Royal Household, whereas every Brit pays $1.20 to support the British Royal Family. Which brings us to the question of relative taxpayer burden. Given the GDP disparity -- British GDP is 4.4 times greater -- we can see that the tax burden is at least four times greater for Thais.

  • UK GDP = US $35,300
  • Thai GDP = US $8,000
So considering that money goes twice as far in Thailand, and that the average Thai enjoys less than one quarter the income of a British subject, you could say the commitment of the Thai people to their royal family is about eight times greater than that of the British to theirs.
* This post was inspired by a chart Bangkok Pundit posted on his blog which shows the money received for the Bureau of the Thai Royal Household from the Thai Budget Bureau. Bangkok Pundit's chart shows a 16% increase in the Thai subsidy for 2007. It would appear the former government (installed by coup) was especially good to the Thai royal family. Perhaps the increase was required to pay for the bills for HM the King's 60th anniversary party in 2006 and his 80th birthday celebrations for in 2007 (in case you missed them, see this post and this post). ** This blog used the CIA World Factbook estimates for PPP.
More Notes: This blog used today's exchange rate for US dollar figures, and while the UK figure is for 2006, the Thai figure is for 2007. Unless otherwise stated, the economic figures for the UK and Thailand are from the CIA World Factbook. Source for British figure is the CBC. Bangkok Pundit has the scoop on the Thai figures.
Photo:The Queen from this website.

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