How subjective well-being measures make a difference in policy

Report
How subjective well-being
measures make a difference in
policy
eframe final conference
Amsterdam, 10th February 2014
Saamah Abdallah
Centre for Well-being
nef (the new economics foundation)
Outline
• Why measure well-being subjectively?
• Approaches to measuring subjective well-being
• Well-being measurement in Europe
• Potential and actual uses
About nef
An independent UK think-and-do-tank (founded
1986).
Inspired by 3 principles
Sustainable development
Social justice
People’s well-being
Aim of the centre for well-being:
“Enhance individual and collective well-being in ways that are
environmentally sustainable and socially just”
Outline
• Why measure well-being subjectively?
• Approaches to measuring subjective well-being
• Well-being measurement in Europe
• Potential and actual uses
Well-being is a property of
people
Well-being is inherently
subjective
“The most fundamental indicator of your happiness
is how happy YOU feel, not whether others see you
smiling, your family thinks you are happy, or you
have all the presumed material advantages of a
good life” (Helliwell & Wang, 2012)
‘Feeling’ good is universally
desirable and important to people
Subjective well-being is
democratic
Subjective well-being data can
provide new insights
Outline
• Why measure well-being subjectively?
• Approaches to measuring subjective well-being
• Well-being measurement in Europe
• Potential and actual uses
A dynamic model of well-being
Overall evaluation
Evaluative &
Hedonic
Good feelings
day-to-day
Good functioning and
satisfaction of needs
e.g. to be autonomous,
competent, connected to
others
External conditions
e.g. material
conditions, social
capital
Adapted from Foresight (2008)
Capabilities
Eudaimonic
Personal resources
e.g. health, resilience,
optimism, selfesteem
Theory – approaches to SWB
1. Evaluative
1. Life satisfaction & life satisfaction scales
2. Ladder of life approaches
3. Domain satisfaction
2. Hedonic
1. Affect measures
2. Experience sampling techniques
3. Eudaimonic
1. Flourishing approach
2. Capabilities approach
3. Being, doing, loving
Outline
• Why measure well-being subjectively?
• Approaches to measuring subjective well-being
• Well-being measurement in Europe
• Potential and actual uses
Subjective well-being
measurement in Europe (in 2012)
Official survey
Semi-official survey
No survey
Did not respond
Subjective well-being
measurement in Europe
By whom?
• 34 surveys reviewed
• 22 by official NSIs
• 5 by other official bodies
• 2 by Eurostat
• 2 by other EU agencies
• 2 by academic institutes
• 1 by UNECE
Type of survey?
• 10 health
• 8 well-being or quality of
life
• 5 general social
• 2 perceptions
• 5 material conditions
• 1 environmental
• 2 household
Items used to measure
subjective well-being
• Life satisfaction (18 surveys)
– “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your
life as a whole nowadays? Please answer using this
card, where 0 means extremely dissatisfied and 10
means extremely satisfied”
– “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life
nowadays?”
Items used to measure
subjective well-being
• Domain satisfactions (15 surveys)
3 to over 10 items including...
– Personal relationships (10)
– Work or main activity (10)
– Housing (8)
– Health (8)
Items used to measure
subjective well-being
• SF-10: “How much of the time, during the past 4 weeks…”
– Did you feel full of life?
– Have you been very nervous?
– Have you felt so down in the dumps that nothing could cheer you
up?
– Have you felt calm and peaceful?
– Did you have a lot of energy?
– Have you felt down-hearted and depressed?
– Did you feel worn out?
– Have you been happy?
– Did you feel tired?
– (2 complete, 6 abbreviated)
• Large literature (over 4000 publications)
• BUT Ostensibly about mental health
• and time-frame too long
New recommendations...
• OECD core affect measures
(Guidelines for Measuring Subjective Well-Being)
“The following questions ask about how you felt yesterday on a
scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you did not experience the
emotion ‘at all’ yesterday, while 10 means you experienced the
emotion ‘all of the time’ yesterday”
– Happy
– Worried
– Depressed
• 7 other emotions covered in affect module
Items used to measure
subjective well-being
• WEMWBS (Warwick Edinburgh Mental WellBeing Scale)
“Below are some statements about feelings and thoughts. Please tick
the box that describes your experience of each over the last two weeks”
-
I’ve been feeling optimistic about the future
I’ve been feeling useful
I’ve been feeling relaxed
I’ve been dealing with problems well
I’ve been thinking clearly
I’ve been feeling close to other people
I’ve been able to make up my own mind
about things
New options...
• OECD eudaimonic module
–
–
–
–
–
In general, I feel very positive about myself [0-10]
I’m always optimistic about my future [0-10]
I am free to decide for myself how to live my life [0-10]
I generally feel that what I do in my life is worthwhile [0-10]
Most days I get a sense of accomplishment from what I do
[0-10]
– When things go wrong in my life it generally takes me a
long time to get back to normal [0-10]
– How much of the time yesterday...
• you had a lot of energy? [0-10]
• you felt calm? [0-10]
• you felt lonely?
Outline
• Why measure well-being subjectively?
• Approaches to measuring subjective well-being
• Well-being measurement in Europe
• Potential and actual uses
Comparing nations or places
Blackburn:
IMD – 35.2
Flourishing – 21%
nef (2012) Well-being patterns
uncovered
Hull:
IMD – 37. 5
Flourishing – 27%
Evaluation of project outcomes
Big Lottery Fund well-being programme
• £160 million working with 17 organisations and hundreds of
projects – healthy eating, physical activity and mental health
• Before and after evaluation methodology
• Significant improvements also found up to 3-6 months later
Evaluation of project outcomes
National Citizen Service
• Voluntary eight-week programme for 16-year olds
on life skills and social action
• Qualitative research highlighted – feelings of
pride, achievement, overcoming fears and
making a difference to others.
NatCen & Cabinet Office
Understanding drivers of
well-being
• Regression analyses can reveal associations
between well-being and potential determinants,
independent of compounding variables.
• Controlling for standard demographics, we can
normally be sure that a significant association either
means:
– Other variable determines well-being
– Well-being determines other variable
– Uncontrolled variable (e.g. personality) determines both
• Longitudinal data helps to untangle these
alternatives
Understanding drivers of
well-being
• UK - Analyses of relationship between alcohol
consumption and well-being have stressed the
fact that highest well-being associated with
moderate drinking (not no drinking) and
influenced policy as a result.
• Austria – Analyses have found independent
positive effect for living in rural areas vs. Urban
areas, highlighting importance of preserving
opportunities to live in rural areas.
Understanding drivers of
well-being
Eurofound
European Quality of Life Survey, 2011
WB-informed policy appraisal
(soft option)
UK Cabinet Office:
• WB impact tool
• WB workshops
– Policy on family doctors for elderly
• Sciencewise – exploring well-being evidence
with the public
– Community rights (Dept. Communities and Local Govt)
– Active labour market policy (Dept. Work and Pensions)
– Loneliness interventions (Cabinet Office)
Cost benefit analysis
• Monetising outcomes
based on their effect
size on well-being vis-avis effect size of income
– E.g. “living in a safe area
= £1,456”
• Cost well-being
analysis: Combining
effects on well-being
without converting to
€€€
Identifying priorities for policy
action
• ISTAT: Italian
regions have been
comparing
satisfaction with
different life
domains to assess
priorities
Predicting future events
Gallup data on well-being could have been used to
predict Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia
Redefining progress
Thank you
www.neweconomics.org
www.happyplanetindex.org
[email protected]
Recommendations
• Standardise life
satisfaction question
• Harmonised domain
satisfaction questions
(see OECD guidelines)
• Exploration of SF-10
and WHOQOL
• Measure hedonic wellbeing and happiness
correctly
• Measure eudaimonic
well-being
• Ensure SWB measures
accompanied by key
drivers
• Consider question
order
• Consider multidimensionality of SWB
in analysis
• Consider mode effects

similar documents