The Measurement of Well-Being in the Current Era

Enrico Ivaldi
Department of Political Science, University of Genova, Italy

Guido Bonatti
University of London, London, United Kingdom

Riccardo Soliani
Department of Political Science, University of Genova, Italy

Series: Economic Issues, Problems and Perspectives
BISAC: BUS069000

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The assessment and measurement of the level of well-being in a society have been on the radar of researchers and institutions for many years. The commonly held opinion was that this kind of research was useful for developing economies, whereas the Western world, thanks to its long-established high standards of living, would have no need for this kind of research.

However, the political and economic events of the Seventies and Eighties have called this paradigm into question, highlighting the increasing inequality even in high-income countries, in the access to both resources and services. At the same time, there has been growing awareness of the consequences of overexploiting natural resources and pollution. Consequently, sustainability issues have been raised alongside equity issues.

All of this provided the basis for an approach to research that would look beyond the mere monetary value and evaluate different aspects of the quality of life. Now, we have reliable evidence of how well people live in society and how much is available to develop human faculties. These measurements help policymakers determine whether the choice of policies are suitably geared towards the improvement of citizens’ well-being and where greater efforts should be made.

The authors have developed their analysis in this context. By aggregating variables, they have built a multidimensional indicator of well-being able to balance the trade-off between the immediate availability and completeness of information.

The book is organised as follows:

The first chapter provides a concise definition of well-being and lists the issues that arise from the measurement of well-being through GDP. It then examines and discusses the two different approaches to measurement: the capabilities of Amartya Sen and the indicators of Dasgupta. The second chapter provides a general description of the main measurements of well-being. The third chapter analyses the literature where the authors’ research falls. The fourth chapter describes the development and the methodology of the indicator, whilst the fifth chapter discusses the results of the indicators and draws some conclusions.

This book describes a multi-speed Europe, where only a few countries, sparsely populated, enjoy high standards of well-being. Larger countries with a variety of needs and preferences have greater difficulties. Finally, several countries that have recently joined the EU must lay the groundwork for the implementation of policies for the well-being of their citizens.

The European Union should guarantee the pursuit of economic and human development in all Member States. In order to do this, the policies should be focused not only on improving the economic reference parameters, but also on increasing the well-being of all citizens. The political authorities need to realise that the enlargement of the European Union, which includes heterogeneous countries, requires a different way of operating and tackling the challenges of the future. The cultural differences and changes in the global economy should be the starting point for political and economic actions so that Europe can seize new opportunities and guarantee well-being prospects for all of its citizens. (Imprint: Nova)

Preface

Chapter 1. Multidimensional Well-Being

Chapter 2. Measures of Well-Being

Chapter 3. Overview of Multidimensional Well-Being Indicators

Chapter 4. The Proposed Indicator: Structure and Description

Chapter 5. Results and Discussion

References

Author Contact Information

Index

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