The Main Determinants for Subjective Well-Being: A Quest for the Holy Grail?

Can Governments Enhance the Perceived Quality of Life?
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 35)

Governments consider the enhancement of the quality of life as an implicit touchstone of the effects of their policies. Whether and to what extent the quality of life is improved through government intervention is a question that's rather difficult to answer. The two main reasons for this are, on the one hand, the measurement of policy effects, and on the other hand, the interpretation of the concept “quality of life”. In our contribution, we focus on the use of subjective indicators, i.e. the study of the “perceived quality of life” or the “subjective well-being”.

We used the framework of resource-theory on subjective well-being as a basis for our analysis of the main determinants of the general subjective well-being, people's evaluation of life as a whole. In order to study this, we set up a face-to-face survey research design. More specifically, our analysis applies to the empirical data of 1873 adult citizens spread over the three biggest Flemish cities (Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges). In order to find these main determinants of the general subjective well-being, we took a wide range of variables into account and, applying a multi-variate regression analysis, we tried to determine their relative importance. The main objective of our enquiry was to investigate to what extent government policy can enhance the perceived quality of life.


Subjective well-being determinants resource theory government, Flanders (Belgium) 


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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advisor Policy Evaluation, Research Center of the Flemish Government and visiting professor at the Department of Business Administration and Public AdministrationUniversity College Ghent Research Center of the Flemish GovernmentBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Associate professor, Department of Political SciencesGhent UniversityGENTBelgium

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