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Mapping patterns of well-being and quality of life in extended Europe

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  • Jenny Assi

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  • Mario Lucchini
  • Amedeo Spagnolo
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    Abstract

    In this paper, we have applied a powerful clustering procedure (the two-step cluster analysis or BIRCH algorithm) to a set of non-monetary indicators of well-being and quality of life taken from the first four waves of the European Social Survey. By employing this technique, we have identified nine clusters of people characterized by different forms of well-being and quality of life, while preserving as much as possible the multidimensional information contained in the preselected indicators. We then analyzed the distribution of the clusters among the various European countries, finding significant differences among the groups of Nordic countries, Continental European countries, Mediterranean European countries and Eastern European countries in the chances of belonging to the nine forms of well-being and quality of life previously identified. On average, citizens of the Nordic countries, but also those of Switzerland and Luxembourg, have a higher chance of belonging to cumulative clusters of well-being than countries in Continental Europe and Eastern Europe. In very concise terms, the former appear to be somewhat protected from the risk of incurring the more severe forms of material deprivation, distrust of others and of institutions, poor health and relational isolation. In contrast, Eastern Europeans are characterized by particularly pronounced levels of deprivation across multiple dimensions. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12232-012-0147-z
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal International Review of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 59 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 409-430

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:59:y:2012:i:4:p:409-430

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    Related research

    Keywords: Well-being; Quality of life; Two-step cluster analysis; European social survey; I30;

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    References

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    1. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "Free to Trust: Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 141-169, 05.
    2. Gasper, Des, 2007. "What is the capability approach?: Its core, rationale, partners and dangers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 335-359, June.
    3. Nicole Fuentes & Mariano Rojas, 2001. "Economic Theory and Subjective Well-being: Mexico," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 289-314, March.
    4. Veenhoven, Ruut, 2010. "Capability and happiness: Conceptual difference and reality links," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 344-350, June.
    5. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Maurizio Pugno, 2008. "Did the Decline in Social Capital Depress Americans’ Happiness?," Department of Economics University of Siena 540, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. Bruni, Luigino, 2004. "The “Technology of Happiness” and the Tradition of Economic Science," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 19-44, March.
    7. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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