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Measuring the well-being across countries


  • Tauhidur Rahman


Dissatisfied with any measure of income as a sufficient indicator of well-being, emphasis has shifted to identification of alternative measures. However, identifying robust Quality of Life (QOL) indicators, or providing a coherent and robust definition of the concept, remains problematic. Over the years, alternative measures of well-being have been suggested. Probably the best-known composite indices of well-being are the Human Development Index and Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI). These alternative measures are recognized as improvements in terms of representing various dimensions of QOL, but they still suffer from various limitations. Using information on eight indicators of QOL for 43 developing countries of the world, in this article I show that various measures of well-being are highly sensitive to the domains of QOL that are considered in the construction of comparative indices, and also sensitive to how measurable inputs into the well-being are aggregated and weighted to arrive at composite measures of QOL. I find results that support the result obtained by Dasgupta and Weale (1992) that measures of health are closest to overall measure of QOL. Thus, if we had to choose a single domain of aggregate well-being, the domain of health would seem to be the most appropriate.

Suggested Citation

  • Tauhidur Rahman, 2007. "Measuring the well-being across countries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(11), pages 779-783.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:14:y:2007:i:11:p:779-783
    DOI: 10.1080/13504850600605952

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    Cited by:

    1. Fritzsch, Jana, 2011. "A Composite Fuzzy Indicator for Assessing Farm Household Potential for Non-farm Income Diversification," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114349, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. 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.

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