1887

OECD Statistics Working Papers

The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate – is designed to make available in a timely fashion and to a wider readership selected studies prepared by staff in the Secretariat or by outside consultants working on OECD projects. The papers included are of a technical, methodological or statistical policy nature and relate to statistical work relevant to the organisation. The Working Papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

Joint Working Paper

Measuring Well-being and Progress in Countries at Different Stages of Development: Towards a More Universal Conceptual Framework (with OECD Development Centre)

Measuring and Assessing Job Quality: The OECD Job Quality Framework (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Forecasting GDP during and after the Great Recession: A contest between small-scale bridge and large-scale dynamic factor models (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Which policies increase value for money in health care? (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Compiling mineral and energy resource accounts according to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) 2012 (with OECD Environment Directorate)

English

Towards a Distribution-Sensitive Better Life Index

Design, Data and Implementation

The Better Life Index was introduced by the OECD as a tool to chart the multi-dimensional well-being of OECD member countries, Brazil and the Russian Federation. However, the Better Life Index relies only on aggregate country-level indicators, and hence is insensitive to how multi-dimensional well-being outcomes are distributed within countries. This paper discusses how a distribution-sensitive Better Life Index could be designed and implemented. Based on five concrete recommendations for the design of the index, a family of indices is suggested. These indices are shown to be decomposable in interpretable building blocks. While a rich and comprehensive micro-level data set is necessary to implement the distribution-sensitive Better Life Index, no such data set is currently available for all OECD member countries. The paper proposes a ‘synthetic’ data set that relies on information about macro-level indicators and micro-level data from the Gallup World Poll. The implementation of the distribution-sensitive Better Life Index is illustrated with this synthetic data set. While the small sample size and other survey features of the Gallup World Poll imply a number of potential biases, illustrative calculations based on this synthetic data set indicates that, when taking distribution into account, Nordic countries are top-ranked whereas Greece, the Russian Federation and Turkey occupy the bottom positions. The results indicate sizeable losses due to multi-dimensional inequality for OECD member countries. Moreover, there are large differences in the level and composition of multi-dimensional inequality.

English

Keywords: well-being
JEL: C43: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics / Index Numbers and Aggregation; leading indicators; I31: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / General Welfare; Well-Being; O1: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development
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