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Multidimensional Well-Being at the Top: Evidence for Germany

  • Andreas Peichl
  • Nico Pestel

This paper employs a multidimensional approach for the measurement of well-being at the top of the distribution using German SOEP micro data. Besides income as traditional indicator for material well-being, we include health as a proxy for nonmaterial quality of life as well as self-reported satisfaction with life as dimensions. We find that one third of the German population is well-off in at least one dimension but only one percent in all three dimensions simultaneously. While the distribution of income has become more concentrated at the top, the concentration at the top of the multidimensional well-being distribution has decreased over time. Moreover, health as well as life satisfaction contribute quite substantially to multidimensional wellbeing at the top which has important policy implications.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.391263.de/diw_sp0425.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 425.

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Length: 17 p.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp425
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Web page: http://www.diw.de/en/soep
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  1. Koen DECANCQ & María Ana LUGO, 2010. "Weights in multidimensional indices of well-being: an overview," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces10.06, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  2. Peichl, Andreas & Schaefer, Thilo & Scheicher, Christoph, 2008. "Measuring Richness and Poverty: A Micro Data Application to Europe and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bourguignon, F. & Chakravarty, S.R., 1998. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," DELTA Working Papers 98-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2011. "International Happiness," NBER Working Papers 16668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joachim R. Frick & Jan Goebel & Markus M. Grabka & Olaf Groh-Samberg & Gert G. Wagner, 2007. "Zur Erfassung von Einkommen und Vermögen in Haushaltssurveys: Hocheinkommensstichprobe und Vermögensbilanz im SOEP," Data Documentation 19, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2009. "From Bottom To Top: The Entire Income Distribution In Germany, 1992-2003," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 303-330, 06.
  7. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2011. "Multidimensional affluence: Theory and applications to Germany and the US," Working Papers 218, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  8. Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico, 2010. "Multidimensional Measurement of Richness: Theory and an Application to Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4825, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Matthias Nübling & Hanfried H. Andersen & Axel Mühlbacher & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2007. "Computation of Standard Values for Physical and Mental Health Scale Scores Using the SOEP Version of SF12v2," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 171-182.
  10. Llavador, Humberto & Roemer, John E. & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2011. "“A dynamic analysis of human welfare in a warming planet”," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1607-1620.
  11. Koen Decancq & María Ana Lugo, 2012. "Inequality of Wellbeing: A Multidimensional Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(316), pages 721-746, October.
  12. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  13. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 476-487.
  14. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
  15. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  16. 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, 09.
  17. Anand, Paul & van Hees, Martin, 2006. "Capabilities and achievements: An empirical study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 268-284, April.
  18. Thomas Piketty, 2005. "Top Income Shares in the Long Run: An Overview," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 382-392, 04/05.
  19. James Foster & Sabina Alkire, 2011. "Understandings and Misunderstandings of Multidimensional Poverty Measurement," Working Papers 2011-18, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  20. Paul Anand & Cristina Santos & Ron Smith, 2007. "The measurement of capabilities," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 67, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
  21. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
  22. repec:ecl:ucdeco:09-5 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Markus M. Grabka, 2009. "Codebook for the $PEQUIV File 1984-2008: CNEF Variables with Extended Income Information for the SOEP," Data Documentation 45, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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