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Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures

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  • Paul Dolan
  • Richard Layard
  • Robert Metcalfe

Abstract

The measurement of wellbeing is central to public policy. There are three uses for any measure: 1) monitoring progress; 2) informing policy design; and 3) policy appraisal. There has been increasing interest in the UK and around the world in using measures of subjective wellbeing (SWB) at each of these levels. There is much less clarity about precisely what measures of SWB should be used. We distinguish between three broad types of SWB measure: 1) evaluation (global assessments); 2) experience (feelings over short periods of time); and 3) 'eudemonic' (reports of purpose and meaning, and worthwhile things in life).

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/special/cepsp23.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Special Papers with number 23.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepsps:23

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEPSP

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  1. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Ed Diener, 2002. "Unemployment Alters the Set-Point for Life Satisfaction," DELTA Working Papers 2002-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Paul Dolan & Tessa Peasgood, 2008. "Measuring Well-Being for Public Policy: Preferences or Experiences?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages S5-S31, 06.
  3. Frick, Joachim R. & Goebel, Jan & Schechtman, Edna & Wagner, Gert G. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2004. "Using Analysis of Gini (ANoGi) for Detecting Whether Two Sub-Samples Represent the Same Universe: The SOEP Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 1049, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bernard M. S. van Praag & P. Frijters & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2001. "The Anatomy of Subjective Well-Being," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 265, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. 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.
  6. Bradford, W. David & Dolan, Paul, 2010. "Getting used to it: The adaptive global utility model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 811-820, December.
  7. Andrew E. Clark, 2009. "Work, jobs and well-being across the Millennium," PSE Working Papers halshs-00566139, HAL.
  8. Richard B. Freeman, 1977. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," NBER Working Papers 0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dolan, Paul & Metcalfe, Robert, 2010. "'Oops...I did it again': Repeated focusing effects in reports of happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 732-737, August.
  10. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  11. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Ronnie Schöb & Steffen Rätzel & Joachim Weimann, 2009. "Dissatisfied with life, but having a good day- time-use and well-being of the unemployed," FEMM Working Papers 09011, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  12. Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen Nickell, 2007. "The Marginal Utility of Income," CEP Discussion Papers dp0784, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Esteban Calvo & Kelly Haverstick & Steven A. Sass, 2007. "What Makes Retirees Happier: A Gradual or 'Cold Turkey' Retirement?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-18, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2007.
  14. Paul Dolan & Robert Metcalfe, 2008. "Comparing Willingness-to-Pay and Subjective Well-Being in the Context of Non-Market Goods," CEP Discussion Papers dp0890, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. John F. Helliwell, 2008. "Life Satisfaction and Quality of Development," NBER Working Papers 14507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2004. "Sample Attrition in the HILDA Survey," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 293-308, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jiayuan Li & John Raine, 2014. "The Time Trend of Life Satisfaction in China," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 409-427, April.
  2. Gabriella Conti & James J. Heckman, 2012. "The Economics of Child Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 18466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos, 2012. "Happy Talk: Mode of Administration Effects on Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1159, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Alex Bryson & George MacKerron, 2013. "Are You Happy While You Work?," Working Paper Series 5713, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  5. Robert Metcalfe & John Feddersen & Mark Wooden, 2012. "Subjective Well-Being: Weather Matters; Climate Doesn't," Economics Series Working Papers 627, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Akay, Alpaslan & Brereton, Finbarr & Cunado, Juncal & Ferreira, Susana & Martinsson, Peter & Moro, Mirko & Ningal, Tine F, 2013. "Life Satisfaction and Air Quality in Europe," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2013-02, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  7. Kroll, Christian & Pokutta, Sebastian, 2013. "Just a perfect day? Developing a happiness optimised day schedule," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 210-217.
  8. Martin Binder, 2013. "Subjective Well-being Capabilities: Bridging the Gap between the Capability Approach and Subjective Well-Being Research," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  9. Ludwig, Jens & Duncan, Greg J. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Kessler, Ronald & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Gennetian, Lisa A. & Sanbonmatsu, Lisa, 2012. "Neighborhood Effects on the Long-Term Well-Being of Low-Income Adults," Scholarly Articles 11870359, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2011. "Destined for (Un)Happiness: Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 5819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Dolan, Paul & Metcalfe, Robert, 2012. "The relationship between innovation and subjective wellbeing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1489-1498.
  12. Christian Kroll, 2011. "Wie wollen wir zukünftig leben? Internationale Erfahrungen bei der Neuvermessung von Fortschritt und Wohlergehen," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 186, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).

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