Personal and Social Well-Being: Creating indicators for a flourishing Europe

By Saamah Abdallah, researcher at nef (the new economics foundation)


It is recommended that you start with the first chapter, and then proceed chronologically. In this way, you will develop your skills gradually.

Introduction: Why we need to measure well-being?

The introduction argues that it is important for governments to measure how societies are faring.

Chapter 1: Three approaches

The chapter introduces three different approaches to measuring well-being. Well-being is defined as ‘a positive physical, social and mental state; ... not just the absence of pain, discomfort and incapacity’.

Chapter 2: A framework – the compositing methodology

This chapter suggests a framework that makes it easier to identify and measure different aspects of well-being. The main emphasis is put on personal well-being, but social well-being and well-being at work are also included in the framework.

Chapter 3: Interpreting data clearly

This chapter studies the levels of well-being of people across Europe. The chapter emphasises the importance of presenting data clearly. This is done by giving a few examples; graphs, maps and well-being profiles.

Chapter 4: Predictors of well-being

In this chapter, you are introduced to the techniques of OLS regression and structural equation modelling (SEM). Both techniques allow one to simultaneously test several relationships at once, with the latter also allowing the incorporation of latent variables into models. This technique will be used to try to confirm a theoretical expectation about the relationship between the variables ‘well-being’, ‘income’ and ‘aspirations’.

When you have completed this topic, you will have had the chance to practise the following statistical methods: