Which way forward in measuring the quality of life? A critical analysis of sustainability and well-being indicator sets

Doris Fuchs, Bernd Schlipphak, Oliver Treib*, Le Anh Nguyen Long, Markus Lederer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The movement to develop indicators that provide a more nuanced view of quality of life (QoL) continues to gain momentum and support in both scientific and policy-making circles. However, measuring QoL still faces a number of challenges. While a range of indicator sets has been developed, it is unclear whether any of them is able to adequately capture the broad range of conditions it encompasses. In addition, it has yet to be determined whether different dimensions of QoL can be meaningfully integrated in one indicator or if separate indicators need to be employed alongside each other for clear and reliable scientific results and policy advice. In this article, we aim to contribute to answering these open questions. To that end, we offer a framework, grounded in the literatures on well-being and sustainable development, for unpacking the QoL concept, and categorize and evaluate different existing indicator sets in terms of their ability to measure this concept of QoL. Moreover, we identify the challenges involved in integrating two very distinct aspects of QoL in one indicator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-36
Number of pages25
JournalGlobal environmental politics
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2020

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