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March 25, 2013

New OECD guidelines on Guidelines on measuring subjective well-being

These Guidelines mark an important step forward in our knowledge of how subjective well-being can, and should, be measured. Not long ago, the  received wisdom was that “we don’t know enough” about subjective well-being to build it into measures of societal progress. However, as the evidence documented in these Guidelines shows, we in fact know a lot – perhaps more than we realised until we gathered all the relevant material for this report – and in particular that measures of subjective well-being are capable of capturing valid and meaningful information.

The Guidelines present a conceptual framework for subjective well-being and bring together information on the validity and reliability of subjective well-being measures.

As for any new area of statistics, there is still much to be learned. Research on both the measurement and the determinants of subjective well-being is rapidly advancing. As our knowledge grows, good practice will need to be updated. Nonetheless, it is important to recognise just how far we have come in recent years. These Guidelines represent the first attempt to provide international guidance on data collection, and I hope that they will prove instrumental in improving the availability of high quality information on subjective well-being in OECD countries and beyond.

You can download the new guidelines here [extern link]

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