Objectivizing the Subjective: Measuring Subjective Wellbeing
Wellbeing has always eluded definition, and the elusive definition, in turn, has denuded the concept of an objective measure. Attempts at an objective measure have brought out two basic methodological alternatives. The first, objective, measure has come out as the famous Physical Quality of Life Index, developed by the sociologist Morris David Morris in the 1970s, based on the indicators of basic literacy, infant mortality, and life expectancy, and supplanted now by the Human Development Index. The second one, dealing with subjective wellbeing, focuses upon self-reported levels of happiness, pleasure, fulfillment etc. The present paper, in five sections, seeks to review the available objective measures of subjective wellbeing. In particular, section 2 discusses some of the important attempts at measuring wellbeing, especially objective wellbeing in terms of objective indicators. Section 3 details the subjective approach to wellbeing in terms of life satisfaction, represented by measures of global life-satisfaction, affect balance, average domain satisfaction and income. Section 4 presents a list of variables which are correlated with global reports of life satisfaction and happiness, such as smiling frequency, sociability and extraversion, sleep quality, high income, and high income rank in a reference group, active involvement in religion, self-reported health, age, sex, education, etc. Section 5 then reports on the surveys of subjective wellbeing, such as the World Values Survey, the General Social Survey, the Eurobarometer Survey, the Cantril Self-Anchoring Scale, and the Gallup World Poll, and seeks to interpret the scores received. The next section turns to a major concern of researchers in the field, which is whether self-report instruments are valid, whether there are cases wherein people might report that they are happy yet not truly experience high subjective well-being. The section also discusses briefly the recent attempts to mesaure individual welfare in terms of moment-to-moment affect in such approaches as Experience Sampling or the Day Reconstruction Method.
|Date of creation:||01 Mar 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & Larry Seidlitz & Marissa Diener, 1993. "The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 195-223, March.
- Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, .
"Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters,"
IEW - Working Papers
129, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(3), pages 377-, September.
- Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2003. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," CREMA Working Paper Series 2003-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
- Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C24-C33, 03.
- Ulrich Schimmack & Jürgen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2008. "The Influence of Environment and Personality on the Affective and Cognitive Component of Subjective Well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 89(1), pages 41-60, October.
- Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
- Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and public policy: a challenge to the profession," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47483, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004.
"Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being,"
NBER Working Papers
10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
- Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
- 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.
- Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? International Evidence From Changes in School-Leaving Laws," NBER Working Papers 10155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
- repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
- John Tomer, 2002. "Human Well-Being: A New Approach Based on Overall and Ordinary Functionings," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 60(1), pages 23-45.
- Angus Deaton, 2008.
"Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:45005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.