Measuring Well-Being Across Europe: The Case for Subjective Social Indicators

English title: Measuring Well-Being Across Europe: The Case for Subjective Social Indicators

Author(s): L. Hyman -

Language: English

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2005


Social indicators, a concept developed in the USA in the 1960s, can be defined as statistics that are used to measure societal conditions at a given time, in a given place. They can be objective, or concerned with a physical, concrete state, or subjective, so characterised by the way individuals perceive their surroundings. Many indicator systems that are currently in use both nationally and world-wide focus largely on objective indicators. This study asks whether both types are necessary to make up such social indicator systems that measure well-being, either regionally, nationally or supranationally, whilst concentrating on such systems across Europe. A reliance on objective indicators might only provide a partial picture of societal well-being, and with a lack of understanding of the subjective dimension, policies implemented as a result of the information yielded by these indicators may overlook the areas most in need of improvement.The results of this study demonstrated that it is indeed necessary to combine objective and subjective indicators in order to measure social conditions and well-being, and the contribution made by subjective social indicators to our understanding of well-being is a highly important one. The European Social Survey (ESS) is considered as a potential source of both types of indicators.


Awarding institution: University of Surrey

Number of pages: 0

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