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What If We Voted on the Weights of a Multidimensional Well‐Being Index? An Illustration with Flemish Data

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  • Koen Decancq
  • Luc Van Ootegem
  • Elsy Verhofstadt

Abstract

There is a widespread consensus that well-being is a multidimensional notion. To quantify multidimensional well-being, information on the relative weights of the different dimensions is essential. There is, however, considerable disagreement in the literature on the most appropriate weighting scheme to be used. Making use of a recent data set for Flanders, we compare various methods to select a weighting scheme. The results are indeed different such that, for instance, a policymaker would identify different groups of individuals as being worst-off depending on the scheme that is chosen. In order to compare and evaluate the weighting schemes, we simulate the support each scheme would get in a hypothetical voting procedure. Weighting schemes that obtain a higher support reflect better the priorities of the respondents themselves and suffer less from the problem of paternalism. Quite remarkably, the popular equal weighting scheme is found to be the least supported in our data set.
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Suggested Citation

  • Koen Decancq & Luc Van Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2013. "What If We Voted on the Weights of a Multidimensional Well‐Being Index? An Illustration with Flemish Data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34, pages 315-332, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:34:y:2013:i::p:315-332 DOI: j.1475-5890.2013.12008.x
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rolf Aaberge & Andrea Brandolini, 2014. "Multidimensional poverty and inequality," Discussion Papers 792, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Koen Decancq, 2017. "Measuring Multidimensional Inequality in the OECD Member Countries with a Distribution-Sensitive Better Life Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, pages 1057-1086.
    3. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Nichole Szembrot, 2014. "Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2698-2735, September.
    4. Philipp Poppitz, 2017. "Can subjective data improve inequality measurement? A multidimensional index of economic inequality," Working Papers 446, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    5. Koen Decancq & Erik Schokkaert, 2016. "Beyond GDP: Using Equivalent Incomes to Measure Well-Being in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 21-55, March.
    6. Datt,Gaurav, 2017. "Multidimensional poverty in the Philippines, 2004-13 : do choices for weighting, identification and aggregation matter ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8099, The World Bank.
    7. Greco, Salvatore & Ishizaka, Alessio & Tasiou, Menelaos & Torrisi, Gianpiero, 2018. "σ-µ efficiency analysis: A new methodology for evaluating units through composite indices," MPRA Paper 83569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2013. "Multidimensional Well‐Being at the Top: Evidence for Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, pages 355-371.
    9. Philipp Poppitz, 2016. "Does self-perceptions and income inequality match?," IMK Working Paper 173-2016, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    10. Stephan Klasen & Rahul Lahoti, 2016. "How Serious is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality in Multi-dimensional Poverty Indices?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 200, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    11. Koen Decancq & Luc Van Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2013. "What If We Voted on the Weights of a Multidimensional Well‐Being Index? An Illustration with Flemish Data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, pages 315-332.
    12. Arnaud Joskin, 2017. "Working Paper 04-17 - Qu’est-ce qui compte pour les Belges ? Analyse des déterminants du bien-être individuel en Belgique
      [Working Paper 04-17 - Wat telt voor de Belgen? Analyse van de determinante
      ," Working Papers 1704, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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