What’s Special About Happiness as a Social Indicator?

  title={What’s Special About Happiness as a Social Indicator?},
  author={John F Helliwell},
  journal={Social Indicators Research},
  • J. Helliwell
  • Published 1 February 2018
  • Sociology, Psychology, Economics
  • Social Indicators Research
Abstract Measures of subjective well-being, and especially life evaluations, or judgments about how happy people are with their lives as a whole, enrich and empower social indicators research. They do this by requiring other social indicators as explanatory variables and providing a coherent encompassing framework within which the relative importance of other social indicators can be established. 
What is Happiness? Why is Happiness Important?
  • Y. Ng
  • Economics, Psychology
    Happiness—Concept, Measurement and Promotion
  • 2021
The (net) happiness (or welfare) of an individual is the excess of her positive affective feelings over negative ones. This subjective definition of happiness is more consistent with common usage and
How Does Culture Influence Experiences of Happiness and Well-being?
The purpose of this study is to analyze if and how cultural values and expectations in society influence the experiences and perceptions of happiness and well-being. Applying a quantitative research
Finding a path for happiness in the context of sustainable development: a possible key
ABSTRACT Sustainable development does not prosper in unhappy societies, as it is a direct indicator of well-being and inequality. As part of well-being, the pursuit of happiness should be understood
Policy insights from the new science of well-being
Nations routinely assess economic and social progress by measuring productivity, growth, longevity, and other objective indicators, and they then use the measures to guide policy. Yet the classic
How happy are your neighbours? Variation in life satisfaction among 1200 Canadian neighbourhoods and communities
A new public-use dataset for community-level life satisfaction in Canada is presented, based on more than 500,000 observations from the Canadian Community Health Surveys and the General Social Surveys, revealing robust differences in life satisfaction between and across urban and rural communities.
The Role of Social Capital and Remote Chinese Villagers’ Well-Being
Evidence on income and different forms of social capital associated with subjective and objective well-being calls for a recalibration in the policy balance between targeting different types of
Translating Idea into Reality? A Q-Methodological Investigation of Chinese Local Officials’ Response to the Initiative of a Happiness Index
This research attempts to provide insights into the extent to which the novel idea of happiness indices has been translated into reality, a topic that arguably remains under-explored in happiness
Nonprofits: A Public Policy Tool for the Promotion of Community Subjective Well-being.
Looking to supplement common economic indicators, politicians and policymakers are increasingly interested in how to measure and improve the subjective well-being of communities. Theories about
The good life in rural and urban Senegal: A qualitative and quantitative study
The results indicate that, against all expectations, life satisfaction is better in the Senegalese Ferlo than in the capital, Dakar, and this difference may be the joint result of less meaningful social comparisons and a relationship with nature as a source of stress restoration in rural areas.
Replies to Our Commentators
AbstractThis paper is written to briefly summarize comments made on our paper “Fifty years after the social indicators movement: Has the promise been fulfilled? An assessment and an agenda for the


Subjective well-being. The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index.
  • E. Diener
  • Psychology
    The American psychologist
  • 2000
Representative selection of respondents, naturalistic experience sampling measures, and other methodological refinements are now used to study subjective well-being and could be used to produce national indicators of happiness.
Fifty Years After the Social Indicators Movement: Has the Promise Been Fulfilled?
This paper reviews the origins, promise, and subsequent development of social indicators/quality-of-life/well-being conceptualizations and research since the 1960s. It then assesses the state of this
Subjective Well-Being: Three Decades of Progress
W. Wilson's (1967) review of the area of subjective well-being (SWB) advanced several conclusions regarding those who report high levels of "happiness". A number of his conclusions have been
Measuring Progress and Well-Being: A Comparative Review of Indicators
This work provides a new database sampling well-being and progress indicators implemented since the 1970s at all geographic scales, and finds that certain types of indicators are more successful in terms of transparency, accountability, as well as longevity.
Positive Affect and Health: What Do We Know and Where Next Should We Go?
Why the study of PA is an essential component of the understanding of physical health and expands on pathways that connect these two variables, as are the connections between PA and a range of different health outcomes.
The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.
  • B. Fredrickson
  • Psychology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 2004
This chapter reviews the latest empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory and draws out implications the theory holds for optimizing health and well-being.
The Geography of World Happiness
  • J. eds World Happiness Report
  • 2015