Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 465–487 | Cite as

The Composite Global Well-Being Index (CGWBI): A New Multi-Dimensional Measure of Human Development

  • Jad ChaabanEmail author
  • Alexandra Irani
  • Alexander Khoury
Article

Abstract

This paper develops a new indicator for human development, the Composite Global Well-Being Index (CGWBI), spanning ten well-being dimensions: safety and security, health, education, housing, environment and living space, employment, income, life satisfaction, community and social life, and civic engagement. The index includes both subjective survey data and socio-economic indicators, and uses the same methodology as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index, by extending it to developing countries. The paper’s results show that the devised CGWBI is highly correlated with the widely used Human Development Index (HDI); however, the CGWBI is less sensitive to income effects than the HDI. The CGWBI provides therefore an improvement over the HDI, by covering additional key well-being dimensions and minimizing the impact of per capita income on overall human development rankings.

Keywords

Human Development Index Development Indicators Well-being Subjective data Life satisfaction 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the United Nations Development Programme for providing us access to the Gallup World Poll Data under the framework of its 2015 Arab Human Development Report research projects. We also would like to thank the two referees for very useful comments and suggestions.

References

  1. Abdallah, S., Thompson, S., & Michaelson, J. (2009). The Happy Planet Index 2.0: Why good lives don’t have to cost the Earth. Resource document. New Economics Foundation. http://hdl.handle.net/10552/604. Accessed 6 Dec 2014.
  2. Barro, R., & Lee, J. W. (2013). A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010. Journal of Development Economics, 104, 184–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bérenger, V., & Verdier-Chouchane, A. (2007). Multidimensional measures of well-being: Standard of living and quality of life across countries. World Development, 35(7), 1259–1276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boarini, R., Comola, M., & Smith, C. (2012). What makes for a better life? The determinants of subjective well-being in OECD countries–Evidence from the Gallup World Poll. OECD Statisitics Working Papers (2012/03).Google Scholar
  5. Böhringer, C., & Jochem, P. (2007). Measuring the immeasurable: A survey of sustainability indices. Ecological Economics, 63(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boncinelli, F., & Casini, L. (2014). A comparison of the well-being of agricultural and non agricultural households using a multicriterial approach. Social Indicators Research, 119(1), 183–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chaaban, J. M. (2009). Measuring youth development: A nonparametric cross-country ‘youth welfare index’. Social Indicators Research, 93(2), 351–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaaban, J. (2014). Youth Welfare Index. In A. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research (pp. 7301–7303). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Chowdhury, S., & Squire, L. (2006). Setting weights for aggregate indices: An application to the commitment to development index and human development index. Journal of Development Studies, 42(5), 761–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Decancq, K., & Lugo, M. A. (2013). Weighting in multidimensional indices of wellbeing: An overview. Econometric Reviews, 32(1), 7–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diener, E., et al. (1993). The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute? Social Indicators Research, 28(3), 195–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fleurbaey, M., & Gaulier, G. (2009). International comparisons of living standards by equivalent incomes. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 111(3), 597–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frank, R. H. (1997). The frame of reference as a public good. Economic Journal, 107(445), 1832–1847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002). Happiness and economics: How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gerdtham, U., & Johannesson, M. (2001). The relationship between happiness, health, and socio-economic factors: Results based on Swedish microdata. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 30(6), 553–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Global Burden of Disease Statistics. (2012). World Health Organization (www.who.int).
  17. Global Peace Index Data. (2008–2014). The Institute for Economics and Peace (http://economicsandpeace.org/).
  18. Helliwell, J. (2008). Life satisfaction and quality of development. National Bureau of Economic Research working paper series (14507).Google Scholar
  19. Human Development Report Office Database. (2013). United Nations Development Programme (http://www.undp.org/).
  20. Jones, C. & Klenow, P. (2010) Beyond GDP: Welfare across countries and time. September 2010. NBER Working Paper (16352).Google Scholar
  21. Kahneman, D., Diener, E., & Schwarz, N. (1999). Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  22. Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2006). Would you be happier if you were richer? A focusing illusion. Science, 312(5782), 1908–1910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kasparian, J., & Rolland, A. (2012). OECD’s “Better Life Index”: Can any country be well ranked? Journal of Applied Statistics, 39(10), 2223–2230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kelley, A. (1991). The Human Development Index: “Handle with Care”. Population and Development Review, 17(2), 315–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Key Indicators of the Labor Market Database. (2007–2012). International Labour Organization (http://www.ilo.org).
  26. Krueger, A., & Schkade, D. (2008). The reliability of subjective well-being measures. Journal of Public Economics, 92(8–9), 1833–1845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lawton, M., & Cohen, J. (1974). The generality of housing impact on the well-being of older people. Journal of Gerontology, 29(2), 194–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lesch, A. M. (2011). Egypt’s spring: causes of the revolution. Middle East Policy, 18(3), 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nardo, M., Saisana M., Saltelli A., Tarantola S., Hoffman A. & Giovannini, E. (2005a) Handbook on constructing composite indicators: Methodology and user guide. OECD Statistics Working Papers.Google Scholar
  30. Nardo, M., Saisana M., Saltelli A. & Tarantola, S. (2005b). Tools for composite indicators building. European Commission Joint Research Center (EUR 21682 EN).Google Scholar
  31. Ng, Y. (1996). Happiness surveys: Some comparability issues and an exploratory survey based on just perceivable increments. Social Indicators Research, 38(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nussbaum, M. C., & Sen, A. K. (1993). The quality of life. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. OECD. (2006). Alternative measures of well-being. Social, employment and migration working papers (33). Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  34. OECD. (2013). How’s Life? 2013: Measuring well-being. Resource document. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. http://www.oecd.org/statistics/how-s-life-23089679.htm. Accessed 10 December 2015.
  35. Oswald, A. J. (1997). Happiness and economic performance. Economic Journal, 107(445), 1815–1831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Oswald, F., & Wahl, H. (2003). Housing and life satisfaction of older adults in two rural regions in Germany. Research on Aging, 25(2), 122–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pacione, M. (2003). Urban environmental quality and human wellbeing: A social geographical perspective. Landscape and Urban Planning, 65(1–2), 19–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Prachuabmoh, K. (2005). Setting the context: Thailand. Housing Finance International, 20(1), 40–45.Google Scholar
  39. Rao, V. V. B. (1991). Human development report 1990: Review and assessment. World Development, 19(10), 1451–1460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Saisana, M., & Tarantola, S. (2002). State-of-the-art report on current methodologies and practices for composite indicator development. European Commission Joint Research Center (EUR 20408 EN).Google Scholar
  41. Saltelli, A. (2007). Composite indicators between analysis and advocacy. Social Indicators Research, 81(1), 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sen, A. K. (1979). The welfare basis of real income comparisons: a survey. Journal of Economic Literature, 17(1), 1–42.Google Scholar
  43. Sen, A. K. (1980). Equality of what. In S. M. McMurrin (Ed.), The tanner lectures on human value (pp. 195–220). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.Google Scholar
  44. Sen, A. K. (1982). Choice, welfare, and measurement. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  45. Sen, A. K. (1988). The concept of development. In H. Chenery & T. N. Srinivasan (Eds.), Handbooks of Development Economics. North-Holland: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  46. Sharpe, A. (2004). Literature review of frameworks for macro-indicators. Resource document. Centre for the study of living standards. http://www.csls.ca/reports/LitRevMacro-indicators.pdf. Accessed 19 June 2015.
  47. Stevenson, B., & Wolfers, J. (2008). Economic growth and subjective well-being: Reassessing the Easterlin paradox. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 39(1), 1–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stiglitz, J.E., Sen, A., & Fitoussi, J.P. (2008). Survey of existing approaches to measuring socio-economic progress. resource document. Joint Insee-OECD document prepared for the first plenary meeting of CMEPSP. http://www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr/documents/Survey_of_Existing_Approaches_to_Measuring_Socio-Economic_Progress.pdf. Accessed 13 December 2014.
  49. Stiglitz, J.E., Sen, A., & Fitoussi, J.P. (2009). Report by the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress. Resource document. Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress. http://www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr/en/index.htm. Accessed 10 December 2014.
  50. UNHCR Statistical Online Population Database. (2013). United nations high commissioner for refugees (www.unhcr.org/statistics/populationdatabase).
  51. UNODC Homicide Statistics. (2008–2012). United nations office on drugs and crime (www.unodc.org/unodc/index.html).
  52. Ura, K., Alkire, S., Zangmo, T., & Wangdi, K. (2012). A short guide to Gross National Happiness Index. Resource document. The Centre for Bhutan Studies. http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Short-GNH-Index-edited.pdf. Accessed 10 December 2014.
  53. Veenhoven, R. (2012). Cross-national differences in happiness: Cultural measurement bias or effect of culture? International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(4), 333–353. doi: 10.5502/ijw.v2.i4.4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vemuri, A. W., & Costanza, R. (2006). The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: Toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI). Ecological Economics, 58, 119–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Walmsley, R. (2013). World prison population list (10th Edn). Resource document. International center for prison studies. http://www.prisonstudies.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/wppl_10.pdf Accessed 15 December 2015.
  56. Warr, P. (1999). Well-being and the workplace. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 392–412). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  57. Winkelmann, L., & Winkelmann, R. (1998). Why are the unemployed so unhappy? Evidence from panel data. Economica, 65(257), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. World Development Indicators Database. (2007–2011). World Bank (www.data.worldbank.org).
  59. World Population Prospects. (2015). United Nationals Population Division (http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jad Chaaban
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexandra Irani
    • 1
  • Alexander Khoury
    • 1
  1. 1.American University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

Personalised recommendations