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Bridging the Gap: Overcoming Data Difficulties During 40 Years of Measuring Well-Being in The Netherlands

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  • Jeroen Boelhouwer

    () (The Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCP)

Abstract

Abstract For more than 40 years the Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCP has studied the quality of life of the Dutch population. A characteristic element of that research is the use of time series. However, maintaining a time series over such a long period is not easy. All manner of problems arise, such as indicators no longer being relevant (who still has a black and white television?) or the changing importance that is attached to particular topics (sport is more important today than it was in 1974). The method of data collection can also change. In this article we take the perspective of a specific measurement to look at the changes that have taken place over the last 40 years and how those changes have been accommodated. We do this using the SCP Life Situation Index, which measures the objective quality of life of Dutch citizens. The conclusion is that it is possible to construct a long-term time series, but that it is not always possible to interpret changes from year to year: the perspective has to focus primarily on long-term developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeroen Boelhouwer, 2017. "Bridging the Gap: Overcoming Data Difficulties During 40 Years of Measuring Well-Being in The Netherlands," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 129-145, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:130:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1122-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-015-1122-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michela Nardo & Michaela Saisana & Andrea Saltelli & Stefano Tarantola & Anders Hoffman & Enrico Giovannini, 2005. "Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2005/3, OECD Publishing.
    2. van der Burg, Eeke & de Leeuw, Jan & Dijksterhuis, Garmt, 1994. "OVERALS : Nonlinear canonical correlation with k sets of variables," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 141-163, August.
    3. Ed Diener & Eunkook Suh, 1997. "Measuring Quality Of Life: Economic, Social, And Subjective Indicators," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 189-216, January.
    4. Jeroen Boelhouwer & Ineke Stoop, 1999. "Measuring well-being in the Netherlands: The SCP index from 1974 to 1997," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 51-75, September.
    5. Frederik Booysen, 2002. "An Overview and Evaluation of Composite Indices of Development," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 59(2), pages 115-151, August.
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