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Well-Being for Public Policy$
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Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, Ulrich Schimmack, and John Helliwell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195334074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334074.001.0001

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Existing Surveys

Existing Surveys

(p.187) Chapter 12 Existing Surveys
Well-Being for Public Policy

Ed Diener

Richard E. Lucas

Ulrich Schimmack

John F. Helliwell

Oxford University Press

Although a disproportionate number of measures are used to assess the objective conditions of societies through social indicators, and ignore subjective well-being, there has been some progress in implementing subjective surveys of well-being. The chapter reviews instances where well-being is tracked on a broad basis. For example, the German Socio-Economic Panel Study assesses life satisfaction for a large and representative panel of Germans on an annual basis, as well as many other factors. Similar surveys in Australia and the United Kingdom reveal the potential implications that the initial attempts at assessing societal well-being can have for policy questions. The well-being measures allow a more in-depth understanding of how factors such as income and crime influence quality of life. The limitations of the existing surveys are reviewed, and recommendations for creating more sophisticated national accounts of well-being are advanced.

Keywords:   German Socio-Economic Panel Study, income, life satisfaction, national accounts, panel study, social indicators, subjective well-being, surveys

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