Table of Contents

  • Since 2011 the OECD has played a major role in carrying forward work on the measurement of well-being and on how well-being measures can be used to inform better policy-making. Under the aegis of the Better Life Initiative, reports such as How’s Life? have pioneered the analysis of how outcomes on the different elements of well-being vary across countries, while other reports such as the OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being have proved instrumental in extending the range of well-being indicators available from official sources. The Better Life Index illustrates how good data visualisation can be effective in engaging the wider public in thinking about what constitutes a better society, and has also generated useful information on how people in different countries value the different dimensions of well-being.

  • In December 2012 Israel embarked on one of the most ambitious initiatives in the world to publish information on well-being in order to better inform citizens and policy makers. In itself, the Israeli government’s decision to produce indicators of “well-being, resilience, and sustainability” (the heading chosen by the Israeli authorities for their initiative) places it in the company of several other OECD countries and follows growingly accepted international best practice. Australia, Austria, Italy, and the United Kingdom, for example, have all undertaken high-profile national initiatives to improve the measurement of “what matters to people”. This, in turn, reflects a growing global awareness of the importance of measuring well-being and integrating these indicators into the policy process.

  • The question of how to measure people’s well-being and societal progress has always been at the heart of what the OECD does. As an international organisation focused on providing evidence-based advice on the full range of country’s policies, the OECD has an intrinsic interest in measuring the high-level outcomes that policies are intended to achieve. This chapter outlines the OECD framework for measuring well-being and sets out the goals of this country monograph on well-being in Israel. The relationship of Measuring and Assessing Well-being in Israel to the Israeli indicators of well‐being, resilience, and sustainability is discussed. In particular, the chapter articulates how Measuring and Assessing Well-being in Israel can complement existing Israeli initiatives to measure well-being by providing an international and comparative perspective.

  • This chapter describes well-being in Israel measured across the 11 dimensions of the OECD Well-being Framework. The first part of the chapter gives an overview of well‐being in Israel, describing the general demographic and socio-economic situation of the country, and then presents key indicators to explore how Israel’s performance compares with that of other OECD countries. The second part of the chapter then looks at the distribution of well-being within Israel, with a particular focus on differences between the three most significant population groups in the country: Jews (excluding Haredi Jews), Haredi (or Ultra-Orthodox) Jews, and Arabs. Israel is a complex, and in many ways, unique country, given its history, geo-political situation and demographic make-up. Reflecting this complexity, aggregate well-being outcomes vary significantly depending on the measure selected, and the sub-group considered. The distribution of well-being outcomes within the country also varies significantly for the three population groups covered here, with Israeli Arabs and Haredi Jews tending to experience lower well-being than the majority non-Haredi Jewish population.

  • Will future generations in Israel enjoy the same standards of well-being as the generation living today? This is the central question addressed by this chapter, which focuses on the sustainability of well-being over time in Israel. Assessing the sustainability of well-being over time is challenging, since many of the things that will affect people’s well-being in the future are either difficult to measure or they simply cannot be known in the present. However, it is possible to make an initial assessment of the sustainability of well-being in Israel by looking at the capital stocks that underpin future well-being outcomes. The indicators presented in this chapter do not allow drawing a definitive picture with respect to the sustainability of well-being in Israel, although they show some improvements in stocks of produced capital and suggest that Israel needs to boost its human capital. Beyond this the picture is more mixed, and there are significant measurement gaps in the area of natural and social capital.

  • Understanding what well-being means to Israeli citizens, and in particular how the importance of different outcome domains varies across the population, has important implications for informing policy decisions. This chapter puts all the pieces presented in the previous chapters together to examine what well-being means to Israeli citizens and illustrates how information on well-being in multiple domains can be brought together to provide a picture of overall well-being in Israel. An analysis based on the Israeli Social Survey suggests that the level and distribution of income is of crucial importance to the well-being of Israeli citizens as are social connections, environmental quality and health. A particular tension here is that the well-being of the Haredi population appears to be only marginally affected by income, jobs, or the secular aspects of education. In contrast, Arab Israeli preferences mirror those of mainstream Jews relatively closely, suggesting that if the social and economic causes of poor Arab outcomes are addressed, there is scope for relatively rapid convergence.

  • This chapter draws together the information gathered during the preparation of Measuring Well-being in Israel to identify key gaps in Israel’s statistical system and to suggest some priorities for statistical development. In addition, this chapter briefly reviews the progress made by the Central Bureau of Statistics in addressing issues related to the geographical coverage of Israeli statistics raised during the process of Israel’s accession to the OECD. Recommendations to improve Israeli statistics in order to better measure well-being fall into two groups. The first focuses on the structure of the Israeli statistical system including the make-up of the survey programme, the harmonization across surveys, the timing and frequency of data collection, and changes to the population coverage. This is supplemented by a second set of recommendations focused on the content of existing surveys and other statistical collections.

  • Applying multi-dimensional well-being indicators to policy is not straight-forward. This Annex, therefore, focuses on the policy uses of well-being measures. The first part of the annex presents an OECD framework for using well-being measures to inform policy. Three ways in which well-being measurement can contribute to making better policy decisions are identified. These are discussed in light of the Israeli experience with developing indicators of well-being, resilience, and sustainability. The second part of the annex then reviews experiences from other OECD countries in using well-being indicators to inform policy with reference to the United Kingdom (both the national government and the Scottish government), New Zealand, and Austria. In each case, these are countries that either have parliamentary political systems or are of less than 10 million people (or both) and are thus good comparators for Israel.