Academic research on dams‘ social impacts traditionally focuses on ex-post resettlement impacts. We explore a specific subset of ex-ante resettlement impacts in this paper: ‘Damocles projects’, whose implementation is still uncertain. Our case study is Thailand’s Kaeng Suea Ten Dam whose implementation has been uncertain for 36 years. We find the cultural life of the communities studied has been significantly shaped by the looming construction of the dam. Furthermore, most villagers report extreme anxiety induced by the threat of the project. As a consequence, many have postponed private investments. The government has also withheld public infrastructure investments, further hampering the villages‘ economic development. Our research highlights the negative impacts induced by projects whose implementation is still uncertain.
The final version of the article (19 pages) is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jid.3246/full