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

Author

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  • Jenny Assi

    ()

  • Mario Lucchini
  • Amedeo Spagnolo

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

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny Assi & Mario Lucchini & Amedeo Spagnolo, 2012. "Mapping patterns of well-being and quality of life in extended Europe," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 59(4), pages 409-430, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:59:y:2012:i:4:p:409-430
    DOI: 10.1007/s12232-012-0147-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Luigino Bruni, 2007. "The ‘Technology of Happiness’ and the Tradition of Economic Science," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Happiness, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "Free to Trust: Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 141-169, May.
    4. Nicole Fuentes & Mariano Rojas, 2001. "Economic Theory and Subjective Well-being: Mexico," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 289-314, March.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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