Human Well-being

Concept and Measurement

Human well-being is a core global issue. Achieving and sustaining higher levels of well-being is challenge for individual citizens, governments and international organisations world-wide. Measures of human well-being levels are an integral part of this process, being used increasingly to monitor and evaluate conditions within and among countries. Not only has the number of indicators of human well-being increased appreciably in recent years, but demands that they capture more fully progress in the various dimensions of human well-being have also increased. A key demand is that these indicators need to more fully capture the non-economic dimensions of well-being. This book provides insights into how human well-being might be better measured, by undertaking conceptual and empirical research into the assessment of achieved human well-being. It does this by taking stock of and reviewing various concepts and measures and providing recommendations for future practice and research.

Table of contents
  1. Human Well-being: Issues, Concepts and Measures
    Mark McGillivray
  2. Human Well-being: Concepts and Conceptualizations
    Des Gasper
    More Working Paper | Human Well-being
  3. Income-Based Measures of Average Well-being
    Steve Dowrick
    More Working Paper | Income-based Measures of Average Well-being
  4. Social and Political Indicators of Human Well-being
    Susan Harkness
    More Working Paper | Social and Political Indicators of Human Well-being
  5. Composite Indices of Human Well-being: Past, Present, and Future
    Mark McGillivray, Farhad Noorbakhsh
    More Working Paper | Composite Indices of Human Well-being
  6. Indicators of Inequality and Poverty
    Sreenivasan Subramanian
    More Working Paper | Indicators of Inequality and Poverty
  7. Gender-related Indicators of Well-being
    Stephan Klasen
    More Working Paper | Gender-Related Indicators of Well-Being
  8. Sustainability and Well-being Indicators
    Eric Neumayer
    More Working Paper | Sustainability and Well-being Indicators
  9. Subjective Measures of Well-being
    Ruut Veenhoven
    More Working Paper | Subjective Measures of Well-being
  10. Participatory Approaches and the Measurement of Human Well-being
    Sarah White, Jethro Pettit
    More Working Paper | Participatory Approaches and the Measurement of Human Well-being
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'This volume extends WIDER’s outstanding tradition of publishing cutting edge work on the quality of life. Mark McGillivray has done a fine job of bringing together new work by leading figures in the field. Anyone interested in research in this area should consult and learn from this book.' - Mozzafer Qizilbash, Professor of Politics, Economics and Philosophy, University of York

'It has become widely acknowledged that the purpose of development is to improve human well being. But how do we define well being? How do we measure it? This volume is a much needed publication that brings together leading research on addressing these questions. This is an important book for all development professionals.' - Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Visiting Professor, The New School, New York, and Director and Lead Author, UNDP Human Development Reports 1996-2004