Advertisement

What is Important for Well-Being?

  • Haya Al-Ajlani
  • Luc Van Ootegem
  • Elsy Verhofstadt
Article
  • 20 Downloads

Abstract

This paper examines the importance of five dimensions (health, income, education, family life, and social life) to the well-being of the Flemish society. The importance of these dimensions is determined by the opinions of the sampled individuals. Using point allocation and direct rating to derive these opinions, we aim to determine which dimensions are considered most important to well-being and the individual heterogeneities that drive this importance. We also aim to study the relationship between the outcome on a dimension (i.e. the self-reported existing situation) and its importance. Summary statistics show that, on average, health and family life are the two most crucial aspects of well-being. Results of linear regressions reveal that older individuals regard health, education, and social life to be crucial. Individuals who have a high trust in people and/or are highly educated regard income as a less crucial dimension. Our results also show that contrary to social life, family life matters more to respondents who have kids and/or a partner. Education, social and family life outcomes demonstrate a weak, positive correlation with their respective importance. Our findings imply that enhancing health, supporting family life, and promoting a vibrant social life for the elderly help increase well-being in Flanders.

Keywords

Multi-dimensional well-being Non-paternalism Point allocation Direct rating 

References

  1. Bottomley, P., & Doyle, J. (2013). Comparing the Validity of numerical judgments elicited by direct rating and point allocation: Insights from objectively verifiable perceptual tasks. European Journal of Operational Research, 228(1), 148–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bottomley, P., Doyle, J., & Green, R. (2000). Testing the reliability of weight elicitation methods: Direct rating versus point allocation. Journal of Marketing Research, 37(4), 508–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. The Economic Journal, 104(424), 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Neve, J. E., Diener, E., Tay, L., & Xuereb, C. (2013). The objective benefits of subjective well-being. In J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard, & J. Sachs (Eds.), World happiness report 2013 (pp. 54–79). New York: UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.Google Scholar
  5. Doyle, J., Green, R., & Bottomley, P. (1997). Judging relative importance: Direct rating and point allocation are not equivalent. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 70(1), 65–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dworkin, R. (1981). What is equality? Part one: Equality of welfare. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 10, 185–246.Google Scholar
  7. Fernández-ballesteros, R., Dolores Zamarrón, M., & Angel Ruíz, M. (2001). The contribution of socio-demographic and psychosocial factors to life satisfaction. Ageing & Society, 21(01), 25–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2005). Income and well-being: An empirical analysis of the comparison income effect. Journal of Public Economics, 89(5–6), 997–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fleurbaey, M., & Blanchet, D. (2013). Beyond GDP. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Furnham, A. (1986). Response bias, social desirability and dissimulation. Personality and Individual Differences, 7(3), 385–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gjonca, E., & Calderwood, L. (2004). Socio-demographic characteristics. Institute for Fiscal Studies. Available at: https://www.ifs.org.uk/elsa/report03/ch2.pdf.
  12. Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2012). World happiness report. New York, NY: The Earth Institute, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  13. Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2018). World happiness report. New York, NY: The Earth Institute, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  14. Helliwell, J. F., & Wang, S. (2011). Trust and wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(1), 42–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik, J. H. P. (2016). Standardisation and harmonisation of socio-demographic variables. In GESIS survey guidelines. Mannheim, Germany: GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences.  https://doi.org/10.15465/gesis-sg_en_012.
  16. Joskin, A. (2017). What matter to belgians? Federal Planning Bureau. Available at https://www.plan.be/admin/uploaded/201706142027480.WP_1704_11482_E.pdf.
  17. Kahneman, D., & Krueger, A. B. (2006). Developments in the measurement of subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(1), 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Krosnick, J., & Alwin, D. (1988). A test of the form-resistant correlation hypothesis: Ratings, rankings, and the measurement of values. Public Opinion Quarterly, 52(4), 526–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewbel, A. (2012). Using heteroscedasticity to identify and estimate mismeasured and endogenous regressor models. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 30(1), 67–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McCarty, J., & Shrum, L. (2000). The measurement of personal values in survey research. Public Opinion Quarterly, 64(3), 271–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meisenberg, G., & Williams, A. (2008). Are acquiescent and extreme response styles related to low intelligence and education? Personality and Individual Differences, 44(7), 1539–1550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Newsom, J. T., Rook, K. S., Nishishiba, M., Sorkin, D. H., & Mahan, T. L. (2005). Understanding the relative importance of positive and negative social exchanges: Examining specific domains and appraisals. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 60(6), 304–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. OECD. (2011a). How’s life?: Measuring well-being. Paris: OECD Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. OECD. (2011b). Compendium of OECD well-being indicators. Available at: www.oecd.org/sdd/47917288.pdf.
  25. OECD. (2017). Education at a Glance 2017: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. Peichl, A., & Pestel, N. (2013). Multidimensional Well-being at the top: Evidence for Germany. Fiscal Studies, 34(3), 355–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Plummer, W. D., Jr., & Dupont, W. D. (2003). Density distribution sunflower plots. Journal of Statistical Software, 8(3), 1–11.Google Scholar
  28. Ravallion, M. (2011). On multidimensional indices of poverty. Journal of Economic Inequality, 9(2), 235–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rawls, J. A. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Ringen, S. (1995). Well-being, measurement, and preferences. Acta Sociologica, 38(1), 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shiovitz-Ezra, S., & Leitsch, S. A. (2010). The role of social relationships in predicting loneliness: The National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. Social Work Research, 34(3), 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steptoe, A., Deaton, A., & Stone, A. (2015). Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing. Lancet, published online. Available at: :  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61489-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stiglitz, J. E., Sen, A. & Fitoussi, J.-P. (2009). Report by the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress, Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress.Google Scholar
  34. Takeuchi, L. (2014). Incorporating people’s values in development: Weighting alternatives. Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Available at: http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9023.pdf.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA), KULeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations