Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 129–145 | Cite as

Bridging the Gap: Overcoming Data Difficulties During 40 Years of Measuring Well-Being in The Netherlands

  • Jeroen BoelhouwerEmail author
Article
  • 205 Downloads

Abstract

For more than 40 years the Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCP has studied the quality of life of the Dutch population. A characteristic element of that research is the use of time series. However, maintaining a time series over such a long period is not easy. All manner of problems arise, such as indicators no longer being relevant (who still has a black and white television?) or the changing importance that is attached to particular topics (sport is more important today than it was in 1974). The method of data collection can also change. In this article we take the perspective of a specific measurement to look at the changes that have taken place over the last 40 years and how those changes have been accommodated. We do this using the SCP Life Situation Index, which measures the objective quality of life of Dutch citizens. The conclusion is that it is possible to construct a long-term time series, but that it is not always possible to interpret changes from year to year: the perspective has to focus primarily on long-term developments.

Keywords

Quality of life Long-term developments Happiness Life situation Index construction 

References

  1. Bijl, R., Boelhouwer, J., Cloïn, M., & Pommer, E. (Eds.). (2012). The Social State of the Netherlands 2011—Summary. A translated summary of “De sociale staat van Nederland 2011”. The Hague: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  2. Bijl, R., Boelhouwer, J., Pommer, E., & Schyns, P. (Eds.). (2010). The Social State of the Netherlands 2009. A translation of De sociale staat van Nederland 2009. The Hague: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  3. Boelhouwer, J. (2010). Well-being in the Netherlands. The SCP life situation index since 1974. The Hague: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (scp-publication 2010/17).Google Scholar
  4. Boelhouwer, J. (2013a). Social monitoring and reporting in Western and Central Europe. Expert Opinion, commissioned by GESIS. The Hague: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  5. Boelhouwer, J. (2013b). Kwaliteit van leven: Leefsituatie en geluk. In R. Bijl, J. Boelhouwer, E. Pommer, & N. Sonck (Eds.), De sociale staat van Nederland 2013. SCP: Den Haag.Google Scholar
  6. Boelhouwer, J., & Roes, T. (2004). Monitoring the Social State of the Netherlands. A model-based approach to describing living conditions and quality of life. In W. Glatzer, S. von Below, & M. Stoffregen (Eds.), Challenges for quality of life in the contemporary world. Advances in quality-of-life studies, theory and research. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  7. Boelhouwer, J., & Stoop, I. (1999). Measuring well-being in the Netherlands. The SCP-index from 1974 to 1997. In: Social indicator research (Vol. 48, pp. 51–75). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Booysen, F. (2002). An overview and evaluation of composite indices of development. In: Social indicator research (Vol. 59, pp. 115–151). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Bundestag, D. (2013). Abschlussbericht Projektgruppe 2 “Entwicklung eines ganzheitlichen Wohlstands- bzw. Fortschrittsindikators”. Enquete-Kommission Wachstum, Wohlstand, Lebensqualität. Inclusief een “Änderungsantrag der Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen” and an “Bericht der Fraktion Die Linke”, Berlin.Google Scholar
  10. Diener, Ed, & Suh, E. (1997). Measuring quality of life: Economic, social and subjective indicators. Social Indicators Research, 40, 189–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ESS. (2011). Sponsorship group on measuring progress, well-being and sustainable development. Final Report adopted by the European Statistical System Committee. European Statistical System. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/pgp_ess/about_ess/measuring_progress
  12. Estes, R. J. (1988). Trends in world social development. The social progress of nations, 1970–1987. New York: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., Srebotnjak, T., & de Sherbinin, A. (2005). Environmental sustainability index: Benchmarking national environmental stewardship. New Haven, Conn: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy.Google Scholar
  14. Hagerty, M. R., Cummins, R., Ferris, A. L., Land, K., Michalos, A. C., Peterson, M., Sharpe, A., Sirgy, J. & Vogel, J. (2001). Quality of life indexes for national policy review and agenda for research. In Social indicators research (Vol. 55, pp. 1–99). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic PublishersGoogle Scholar
  15. Hagerty, M. R., & Land, K. C. (2007). Constructing summary indices of quality of life: A model for the effect of heterogeneous importance weights. Sociological Methods Research, 2007(35), 455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. House of Parliament. (2012). Measuring national well-being. London: The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  17. Land, K. C. (2004). An evidence-based approach to the construction of summary quality-of-life indices. In W. Glatzer, M. Stoffregen & S. von Below (Eds.), Challenges for quality of life in the contemporary world (pp. 107–124). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  18. Mootz, M., & van der Snoek, K. (1990). De mate van Welzijn. Den Haag: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  19. Nardo, M., Saisana, M., Saltelli, A., & Tarantiola, S. (2005). Handbook on constructing composite indicators: methodology and user guide. OECD Statistics Working Paper.Google Scholar
  20. Noll, H.-H. (2002). Globale Wohlfahrtsmasse als Instrumente der Wohlfahrtsmessung und Sozialberichterstattung: Funktionen, Ansätze und Probleme. In W. Glatzer, R. Habich, & K. U. Mayer (Eds.), Sozialer Wandel und gesellschaftliche Dauerbeobachtung. Leske + Budrich, Opladen, 2002, pp. 317–335.Google Scholar
  21. Noll, H.-H. (2010). The Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi-report: Old wine in new skins? Views from a Social Indicators Perspective. In Social indicators research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-010-9738-9
  22. Noll, H.-H. & Berger, C. (2014). Stocktaking report on social monitoring and reporting in Europe. Mannheim: GESIS—Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Social Indicators Research Centre (ZSi).Google Scholar
  23. OECD. (1982). The OECD list of social indicators. Paris: Organisation for economic co-operation and development.Google Scholar
  24. OECD. (2013a). OECD guidelines on measuring subjectivewell-being. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.Google Scholar
  25. OECD. (2013b). New approaches to economic challenges (naec). Interim report. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.Google Scholar
  26. OECD (2013c). Better life index. Website, consulted Juli 2013. www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/.
  27. Rapley, M. (2003). Quality of Life research. A critical introduction: Sage Publications, Beverley Hills.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SPSS (1999). SPSS categories 10.1. Chicago: SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
  29. SPSS (2001). Book on algorithms for the overals procedure. http://www.spss.com/tech/stat/algorithms/overals.pdf
  30. Stiglitz, J. E., Sen, A., & Fitoussi, J.-P. (2009). Report by the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress. www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr/en/index.htm
  31. van der Burg, E., de Leeuw, J., & Dijksterhuis, G. (1994). OVERALS. Nonlinear canonical correlation with k sets of variables. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, 18, 141–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. United Nations. (2011). Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development. Algemene Vergadering Verenigde Naties, resolutie A/res/65/309.Google Scholar
  33. UNDP. (1990). United Nations Development Program “Human Development Report 1990”. New York/Oxford. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Zapf, W. (1984). Individuelle Wohlfahrt: Lebensbedingungen und wahrgenommene Lebensqualität. In W. Glatzer & W. Zapf (Eds.), Lebensqualität in der Bundesrepublik (pp. 13–26). Frankfurt a. M. and New York: Campus.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Netherlands Institute for Social Research|SCPThe HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations