Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/52848
Authors: 
Veenhoven, Ruut
Year of Publication: 
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.
Subjects: 
well-being
objective
subjective
measurement
quality of life
worth
happiness adjusted life years
JEL: 
I31
I32
D19
D78
ISBN: 
9291906107
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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