Wellbeing Evidence for the Assessment of Progress

40 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2016

See all articles by Paul Anand

Paul Anand

The Open University - Department of Economics; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS); IZA; University of Oxford

Laurence S. J. Roope

University of Oxford - Health Economics Research Centre (HERC)

Andreas Peichl

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research; University of Mannheim - School of Economics (VWL); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Abstract

In recent years considerable interest has developed in going 'beyond GDP' to develop measures of economic progress which are more explicitly based on human wellbeing. This work has been inspired, in part, by Sen's non-utilitarian approach to welfare economics, but has been constrained by a lack of empirical indicators relating to human potential. In this paper, therefore, we develop a framework for understanding wellbeing, drawing closely on Sen's seminal contributions to welfare economics, as well as the economic literature on life satisfaction, and use it to generate novel data for the USA and UK consistent with all the components of the theory. We use these data to illustrate some of the life quality analyses that might follow. Specifically, we investigate how various indicators of capability are distributed by ethnicity and gender, and compare and contrast the types of capability which appear relatively strong/weak within each country. In addition, we consider the extent to which life satisfaction and daily activities depend on resources and non-cognitive skills. The paper concludes that with an expansion of the scope of routinely collected survey data, it is feasible to empirically implement fully Sen's theory to provide a much richer account of the wellbeing outcomes that derive from economic progress than is currently the case.

Keywords: wellbeing, stochastic dominance, life satisfaction, Sen

JEL Classification: D60, I31

Suggested Citation

Anand, Paul and Roope, Laurence S. J. and Peichl, Andreas, Wellbeing Evidence for the Assessment of Progress. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9840, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2757950

Paul Anand (Contact Author)

The Open University - Department of Economics ( email )

Walton Hall
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS) ( email )

United Kingdom

IZA ( email )

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Laurence S. J. Roope

University of Oxford - Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) ( email )

Department of Public Health
Old Road Campus
Oxford OX3 7LF
United Kingdom

Andreas Peichl

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

University of Mannheim - School of Economics (VWL) ( email )

Mannheim 68131
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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