Further developing the framework

Our working model highlights a number of questions about how National Accounts of Well-being should best be composed, structured and measured. We hope that this will generate a new wave of research to produce a robust and well-validated framework that governments will be able to use to reliably measure population well-being. Issues for further exploration include:

  • Refining the components of well-being included in the framework. The components in our National Accounts of Well-being framework were designed based on considerations of the best current theory about the elements that constitute human well-being together with the possibilities offered by the data available in the European Social Survey. New attempts to construct similar frameworks might consider including additional components or grouping up measures in different ways to form new components.
  • Improving survey measures. The well-being module of the European Social Survey on which our working model for National Accounts of Well-being is based was designed by a cross-national group of well-being experts. But there are likely to be a number of possible improvements to the measures that were used, including: changes to question wording to improve clarity, comprehensibility and cross-country comparability, developing additional measures so that no construct is measured by a single question and adding measures to explore further components of well-being or to examine well-being within specific life domains.
  • Exploring geographically nested and detailed sub-group measurements. The sampling methodology of the European Social Survey is based on randomly selecting representative samples within a country as a whole so that the resulting data provide a reliable indication of average well-being at national level, as well as of well-being among key population subgroups. However, with more complex sample designs, well-being could be measured at local and regional levels, providing well-being accounts at local authority and regional level, which could then be grouped up to the national level. Alternatively, over-sampling of particular sub-groups in the population, for example particular minority ethnic groups, would allow more detailed exploration of the well-being of subgroups for which otherwise there would not be sufficient numbers in a random population sample.