Subjective Measures of Well-being

  • Ruut Veenhoven
Part of the Studies in Development Economics and Policy book series (SDEP)


There are two approaches in social indicators research: the ‘objective’ and the ‘subjective’ approach. In the objective approach the focus is on measuring ‘hard’ facts, such as income in dollars or living accommodation in square metres. The subjective approach, in contrast, considers ‘soft’ matters, such as satisfaction with income and perceived adequacy of dwellings. The objective approach has its roots in the tradition of social statistics, which dates back to the nineteenth century. The subjective approach stems from survey research, which took off in the 1960s. The objective approach is similar to mainstream economic indicators research; though the topics differ, the method is the same. The subjective approach is akin to the psychological stream found in economic indicators research, which is used to monitor things such as consumer trust (Katona 1975) and subjective poverty (VanPraag et al. 1980).


Life Satisfaction Subjective Measure Human Development Index Objective Indicator Subjective Indicator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© United Nations University 2007

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  • Ruut Veenhoven

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