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Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures

  • Paul Dolan
  • Richard Layard
  • Robert Metcalfe

The measurement of wellbeing is central to public policy. There are three uses for any measure: 1) monitoring progress; 2) informing policy design; and 3) policy appraisal. There has been increasing interest in the UK and around the world in using measures of subjective wellbeing (SWB) at each of these levels. There is much less clarity about precisely what measures of SWB should be used. We distinguish between three broad types of SWB measure: 1) evaluation (global assessments); 2) experience (feelings over short periods of time); and 3) 'eudemonic' (reports of purpose and meaning, and worthwhile things in life).

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/special/cepsp23.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Special Papers with number 23.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepsps:23
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEPSP

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  1. Calvo, Esteban & Haverstick, Kelly & Sass, Steven, 2007. "What Makes Retirees Happier: A Gradual or 'Cold Turkey' Retirement?," MPRA Paper 5607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
  3. Layard, R. & Mayraz, G. & Nickell, S., 2008. "The marginal utility of income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1846-1857, August.
  4. Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen & Schöb, Ronnie & Weimann, Joachim, 2009. "Dissatisfied with life, but having a good day: time-use and well-being of the unemployed," Discussion Papers 2009/13, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  5. Frick, Joachim R. & Goebel, Jan & Schechtman, Edna & Wagner, Gert G. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2004. "Using Analysis of Gini (ANoGi) for Detecting Whether Two Sub-Samples Represent the Same Universe: The SOEP Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 1049, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Ed Diener, 2002. "Unemployment Alters the Set-Point for Life Satisfaction," DELTA Working Papers 2002-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Bradford, W. David & Dolan, Paul, 2010. "Getting used to it: The adaptive global utility model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 811-820, December.
  8. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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  10. 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.
  11. Andrew E. Clark, 2009. "Work, Jobs and Well-Being across the Millennium," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 83, OECD Publishing.
  12. Dolan, Paul & Metcalfe, Robert, 2010. "'Oops...I did it again': Repeated focusing effects in reports of happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 732-737, August.
  13. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  14. Paul Dolan & Tessa Peasgood, 2008. "Measuring Well-Being for Public Policy: Preferences or Experiences?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages S5-S31, 06.
  15. Paul Dolan & Robert Metcalfe, 2008. "Comparing Willingness-to-Pay and Subjective Well-Being in the Context of Non-Market Goods," CEP Discussion Papers dp0890, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2004. "Sample Attrition in the HILDA Survey," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 293-308, June.
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