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Constructing a Measure of Well-Being

  • Ryan M. Yonk
  • Josh T. Smith
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Political Science book series (BRIEFSPOLITICAL)

Abstract

Any index’s quality is based on its contents. A good index is based on what matters, clearly delineates what the data sources are, and the methods used in creating the index. The saying, “garbage in, garbage out, is common among social scientists who either work with or critique indexes. Because we define quality of life as, “The measured fulfillment of human wants and needs,” determining how and what to include is of particular importance. Including ideas that are incorrect, garbage, in our index will produce only one thing, more garbage. It is easy to make an index, but it is tremendously difficult to build a valid one. In fact, it is likely impossible to have a perfect index, which is part of the reason we include only data that is widely and freely available because we think any other index based on private data is too much of a black box to rely on in policymaking or scholarly analysis. Our index, like any other, is certainly imperfect. We console ourselves with a firm belief that scientific progress is largely found in marginal improvements to existing models and methods.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan M. Yonk
    • 1
  • Josh T. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

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