Systems Thinking to Understand National Well-Being from a Human Capital Perspective

Eker, S. ORCID: & Ilmola-Sheppard, L. (2020). Systems Thinking to Understand National Well-Being from a Human Capital Perspective. Sustainability 12 (5) e1931. 10.3390/su12051931.

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Well-being has become an important policy goal to replace gross domestic product (GDP) as an indicator of national progress. Several multidimensional metrics and indicators of well-being have been developed mostly based on the four-capital model that includes natural, economic, human and social capital. These multidimensional measures of well-being, however, are highly categorical and lack a systems perspective that focuses on underlying mechanisms of the metrics and the interconnections between them. This study aims at bringing a systems thinking approach to understanding and measuring national well-being, particularly from a human capital perspective. For this purpose, we employ a qualitative systems mapping approach and identify the direct or indirect relationships between the well-being indicators related to human capital. The results show that the human capital system is governed by several reinforcing feedback loops through economic progress, health and life expectancy, which gives a central role to human capital to enhance well-being. There are balancing loops, however, that may have adverse effects on human capital formation and well-being, for instance through migration and ageing. Future studies can focus on the other three subsystems in the four-capital model, and on quantifying the relationships between different dimensions of well-being.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2020 06:38
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:32

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