Social Indicators Research

, Volume 141, Issue 1, pp 477–502 | Cite as

How Disadvantages Shape Life Satisfaction: An Alternative Methodological Approach

  • Adolfo Morrone
  • Alfonso PiscitelliEmail author
  • Antonio D’Ambrosio


Life satisfaction is one of the key indicators of subjective well-being. This paper aims to give a methodological contribution to the study of the factors influencing life satisfaction by emphasising the ordinal nature of this variable. Although life satisfaction is customarily treated like a numerical variable in the literature on indicators of quality of life, we consider it important to fully respect its ordinal nature. In this paper we use an ordinal classification tree-based technique to show the effect of disadvantages on life satisfaction, and we implement an original impurity measure that takes into account the ordinal nature of life satisfaction and, at the same time, the heterogeneity of its ordered categories. The technique shows that, in general, the higher the level of disadvantages, the lower the life satisfaction, and that economic factors are very important in the quality of social relationships by acting as a tipping point for the quality of life.


Subjective well-being Ordinal regression trees Multiple disadvantages Bes Quality of life Life satisfaction 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISTAT - Italian National Institute of StatisticsRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  3. 3.Department of Economics and StatictisUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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