Theoretical Foundations to outline Human Well-being: Metaanalytic Literature Review for defining Empowered Life Years

Lijadi, A.A. (2018). Theoretical Foundations to outline Human Well-being: Metaanalytic Literature Review for defining Empowered Life Years. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-18-002

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Project: The Demography of Sustainable Human Wellbeing (EmpoweredLifeYears, H2020 741105)


Aim: This paper reviews existing theories and current approaches to defining human wellbeing in order to propose the dimensions and properties of indicators appropriate for measuring human well-being. It is part of the ongoing project Empowered Life Years
(ELY) as Sustainable Human Well-being Criterion which was recently approved as an
Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC).
Problem: Current studies on human well-being tend to emphasise quantitative indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Human Development Index (HDI), and most recently, the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which consist of a set of 230 indicators to monitor the 169 targets specified. While this abundance of indicators may provide reasonable coverage of different aspects of long-term human wellbeing, a rationale for prioritization and suitable conversion mechanisms to capture the sustainability criterion remain elusive.
Approach: We use narrative research synthesis to analyse 1,050 academic articles published in 2017 on ‘well-being indicators’. We highlight seven theories and 10 indicators of well-being that emerged from the literature and provide a brief discussion of these theories and indicators. The theories of well-being identified include subjective well-being theory, psychological well-being theory, social well-being theory, selfdetermination theory, positive psychology, quality of life theory and welfare or economic well-being theory. The indicators of well-being include life satisfaction, health, education, financial, social capital, community, time use, government policy, ecology, and religion factors. We also discuss circumstances that affect well-being, including age, gender, culture, and technology development. Finally, we provide a brief overview of well-being around the world.
Limitation: The full reliance on literature is the primary weakness of the paper. An empirical study is needed to prove the applicability of the dimensions and influencing indicators being proposed.
Significance: The key findings of the literature review highlight the interdisciplinary approach needed to support the ELY.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2018 10:59
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:29

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