Measuring well-being by a multidimensional spatial model in OECD Better Life Index framework

Salvatore Greco, Alessio Ishizaka, Giuliano Resce, Gianpiero Torrisi

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One of the most influential measures of multidimensional well-being, the Better Life Index, launched by OECD in 2011, contains a detailed overview of the social, economic, and environmental performances of different countries. Since its launch, a relevant number of empirical studies have been proposed on these data, but the role played by the distance between societal priorities and country-level performance in Better Life Index as well as in multidimensional well-being remains underexplored. We propose to address this issue by means of a multidimensional spatial model. We position the countries in the Euclidean K-dimensional space in which each dimension is a specific aspect of well-being, and we consider each individual's opinion on the same dimensions to calculate the personal optimal point. The distance between the optimal point of well-being and the actual observed point at individual level is the individuals' loss in well-being. We show that the societal loss at country-level is negatively related to the overall well-being and the main indices of quality of democracy. Based on the above evidence, we would argue that a multidimensional spatial framework represents a promising tool for the analysis of the whole class of multidimensional measures of well-being in which a group of individuals expresses the weights individually assigned to a set of dimensions within a pre-established range.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
Early online date4 Feb 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 4 Feb 2019


  • Multidimensional spatial model
  • Well-being
  • Better life index
  • OECD


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