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Measuring Well-being Across Europe: Description of the ESS Well-being Module and Preliminary Findings

Author

Listed:
  • Felicia Huppert

    ()

  • Nic Marks

    ()

  • Andrew Clark

    ()

  • Johannes Siegrist

    ()

  • Alois Stutzer

    ()

  • Joar Vittersø

    ()

  • Morten Wahrendorf

    ()

Abstract

It has become customary to judge the success of a society through the use of objective indicators, predominantly economic and social ones. Yet in most developed nations, increases in income, education and health have arguably not produced comparable increases in happiness or life satisfaction. While much has been learned from the introduction of subjective measures of global happiness or life satisfaction into surveys, significant recent progress in the development of high-quality subjective measures of personal and social well-being has not been fully exploited. This paper describes the development of a set of well- being indicators which were included in Round 3 of the European Social Survey. This well-being Module seeks to evaluate the success of European countries in promoting the personal and social well-being of their citizens. In addition to providing a better understanding of domain-specific measures, such as those relating to family, work and income, the design of the Well-being Module recognises that advancement in the field requires us to look beyond measures which focus on how people feel (happiness, pleasure, satisfaction) to measures which are more concerned with how well they function. This also shifts the emphasis from relatively transient states of well-being to measures of more sustainable well-being. The ESS Well-being Module represents one of the first systematic attempts to create a set of policy-relevant national well-being accounts.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Felicia Huppert & Nic Marks & Andrew Clark & Johannes Siegrist & Alois Stutzer & Joar Vittersø & Morten Wahrendorf, 2009. "Measuring Well-being Across Europe: Description of the ESS Well-being Module and Preliminary Findings," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 301-315, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:91:y:2009:i:3:p:301-315
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9346-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    2. Ed Diener, 2006. "Guidelines for National Indicators of Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 397-404, November.
    3. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, February.
    4. Anna Lau & Robert Cummins & Wenda Mcpherson, 2005. "An Investigation into the Cross-Cultural Equivalence of the Personal Wellbeing Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 403-430, July.
    5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    6. John Helliwell, 2007. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 81(3), pages 455-496, May.
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