Comparing Well-Being Across Nations: Conceptual and Empirical Issues

Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 448-464). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

30 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2014 Last revised: 20 Apr 2015

See all articles by William Tov

William Tov

Singapore Management University

Evelyn Au

Singapore Management University

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Abstract

We review the nature of subjective well-being (SWB) measures in existing cross-national datasets in the World Database of Happiness. Sixty-seven percent of SWB data are based on general measures of overall well-being that are cognitive in nature (as opposed to time-inclusive or affective measures). In addition, 70% of the current data on SWB are based on European and North American respondents. Respondents from Asian and African nations are underrepresented. Two major types of cross-national comparisons of SWB data are discussed, followed by a review of the conceptual and methodological issues involved in the analysis of cross-national data.

Keywords: well-being, happiness, satisfaction, cross-national surveys, culture

JEL Classification: I31

Suggested Citation

Tov, William and Au, Evelyn, Comparing Well-Being Across Nations: Conceptual and Empirical Issues (March 1, 2013). Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 448-464). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2397670

William Tov (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University ( email )

90 Stamford Road
Level 4
Singapore, 178903
Singapore

Evelyn Au

Singapore Management University ( email )

Li Ka Shing Library
70 Stamford Road
Singapore 178901, 178899
Singapore

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