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Psychological and Subjective Wellbeing: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators



This paper sets out a proposal to measure psychological and subjective states of wellbeing in individual and household surveys. In particular, it proposes a short list of seven indicators, and a module containing the relevant questions needed to construct them. The indicators address both eudaemonic and hedonic criteria, and cover four aspects of wellbeing: 1) meaning in life; 2) the three 'basic psychological needs' of autonomy, competence and relatedness, following self-determination theory; 3) domain-specific and overall life satisfaction; and 4) happiness. The article recommends that further research should explore the connections between these indicators, as well as their relationship with objective measures of disadvantage. While re-affirming that perceptual staters should not be treated as aims of government policy, it is argued that they may provide a richer understanding of peoples' values and behaviour - and therefore that further research on the subject could deepen our understanding of capability poverty. Number 5

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  • Emma Samman, 2007. "Psychological and Subjective Wellbeing: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp005, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp005

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    1. Conchita D'Ambrosio & Joachim R. Frick, 2004. "Subjective Well-Being and Relative Deprivation: An Empirical Link," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 449, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "Should National Happiness be Maximized?," Chapters, in: Amitava Krishna Dutt & Benjamin Radcliff (ed.), Happiness, Economics and Politics, chapter 14, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Deepa Narayan & Robert Chambers & Meera K. Shah & Patti Petesch, 2000. "Voices of the Poor : Crying Out for Change," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 13848, December.
    4. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
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