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Using Efficiency Analysis to Measure Individual Well-Being with an Illustration for Catalonia


  • Ramos, Xavier

    () (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)


This paper shows how distance functions, a tool typically employed in production economics to measure the distance between a set of inputs and a set of outputs, can be employed to approximate a composite measure encompassing the many dimensions of well-being. It also illustrates how to implement the methodology originally put forth by Lovell et al. (1994), using new data for Catalonia. We draw policy implications and critically appraise the discussed methodology suggesting avenues for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramos, Xavier, 2005. "Using Efficiency Analysis to Measure Individual Well-Being with an Illustration for Catalonia," IZA Discussion Papers 1748, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1748

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    2. Greene, William H., 1980. "Maximum likelihood estimation of econometric frontier functions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 27-56, May.
    3. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
    4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    5. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 1996. "Resources, Deprivation, and Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287858.
    6. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Robert Cummins, 1996. "The domains of life satisfaction: An attempt to order chaos," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 303-328, January.
    8. Wilson, Chris M. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "How Does Marriage Affect Physical and Psychological Health? A Survey of the Longitudinal Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1619, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Bardasi, Elena & Taylor, Mark P., 2005. "Marriage and wages," ISER Working Paper Series 2005-01, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    10. Xavier Ramos & Jacques Silber, 2005. "On The Application Of Efficiency Analysis To The Study Of The Dimensions Of Human Development," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(2), pages 285-309, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2010. "Disentangling the Circularity in Sen's Capability Approach – An Analysis of the Co-Evolution of Functioning Achievement and Resources," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-04, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    2. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2011. "Disentangling the Circularity in Sen’s Capability Approach: An Analysis of the Co-Evolution of Functioning Achievement and Resources," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 103(3), pages 327-355, September.
    3. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2011. "Applying a Non-parametric Efficiency Analysis to Measure Conversion Efficiency in Great Britain," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 257-281.
    4. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.

    More about this item


    well-being; multidimensional poverty; distance function; Catalonia;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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