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Title:Subjective measures of well-being PDF Logo
Authors:Veenhoven, Ruut
Issue Date:2004
Series/Report no.:WIDER Discussion Papers // World Institute for Development Economics (UNU-WIDER) 2004/07
Abstract:This paper deals with three questions: (1) What are ‘subjective’ measures? (2) What is ‘well-being’? and (3) Are subjective measures of well-being of use for policymaking, in particular in developing nations? The first question is answered by making a distinction between two kinds of ‘subjectivity’: subjective substance and subjective assessment. On that basis nine types of indicators are discerned, varying in degree of subjectivity. The second question is answered by discerning four kinds of well-being. Examples are presented of indicators for each of these well-being variants. It is argued that there is little sense in combining these variants in one sum-score of overall well-being, since this involves adding apples and oranges. The much-used Human Development Index is rejected on that ground. In answer to the third question a case is made for subjective measures of well-being, in particular for using ‘happy life years’ as an indicator of final policy effectiveness.
quality of life
happiness adjusted life years
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:WIDER Discussion Papers, United Nations University (UNU)

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