Presentation on theme: "Conal Smith 27 June 2012 Subjective Well-being: what we know and what we need to know."— Presentation transcript:
Conal Smith 27 June 2012 Subjective Well-being: what we know and what we need to know
Subjective well-being and the OECD Better policies for better lives Better measures Subjective well-being Social contact Governance…
What we thought we knew Subjective well-being is just “happiology” People have a “set point” to which their level of subjective well-being always returns (people fully adapt to changes in their circumstances) There is no meaningful change in national levels of subjective well-being over time Everyone is “mostly satisfied” with their life (people’s responses depend entirely on their frame of reference) People object to answering such general questions
1. SWB is not just about happiness
2. There is no set point for SWB Lucas, R., Clark, A., Georgellis, Y. and Diener, E. (2003), "Reexamining adaptation and the set point model of happiness: Reactions to changes in marital status", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
2. There is no set point for SWB Lucas, R., Clark, A, Georgellis, Y. and Diener, E. (2004), "Unemployment alters the set point of life satisfaction", Psychological Science.
3. National SWB levels can change
4. Not “mostly satisfied”
5. SWB has low item-specific non-response rates 11
12 5. SWB has low item-specific non-response rates
What we need to know Is eudaimonic well-being uni-dimensional or multi- dimensional? What is the minimal set of measures needed to adequately capture affect? What is best practice in domain-specific well-being questions? How important is cultural bias?
Affect and Eudaimonia ONS core questions on subjective well-being – life satisfaction, life worthwhile, happy yesterday, anxious yesterday
Eudaimonia Source: Huppert, F. and So, T. (2011) “Flourishing across Europe: Application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being.”, Social Indicators Research
Affect measures Draft OECD Affect questions The following questions ask about how you felt yesterday. I will now read out a list of ways you might have felt yesterday. Did you experience the following feelings a lot yesterday? C1. How about enjoyment?[YES/NO] C2. How about calm and peaceful?[YES/NO] C3. How about worry?[YES/NO] C4. How about sadness?[YES/NO] C5. How about happy?[YES/NO] C6. How about depressed?[YES/NO] C7. How about anger?[YES/NO] C8. How about stress?[YES/NO] C9. How about physical pain?[YES/NO] C10. Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?[YES/NO]
Affect measures Draft OECD domain evaluation questions The following questions ask how satisfied you feel about specific aspects of your life, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you feel”completely dissatisfed” and 10 means “completely satisfied”. E1. How satisfied are you with your standard of living?[0-10] E2. How satisfied are your with your health?[0-10] E3. How satisfied are you with what you are achieving in life?[0-10] E4. How satisfied are you with your personal relationships?[0-10] E5. How satisfied are you with how safe you feel?[0-10] E6. How satisfied are you with feeling part of your community?[0-10] E7. How satisfied are you with your future security?[0-10] E8. How satisfied are you with the amount of time you have to do the things that you like doing? [0-10] For respondents who are employed only E9. How satisfied are you with your job?[0-10]
Cultural bias Brazil, Chile, Mexico Japan, Korea
Cultural bias Country-specific effects may have at least four sources: –1) Unmeasured life circumstances. –2) Differences in how people feel about their life circumstances. –3) Language differences that influence scale use. –4) Cultural response biases.