What is Important for Well-Being?

  • Haya Al-AjlaniEmail author
  • Luc Van Ootegem
  • Elsy Verhofstadt


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.


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


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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

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