A multidimensional understanding of prosperity and well-being at country level: Data-driven explorations

This research article, published in PLOS ONE (an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online science publication), has been written by Mohsen Joshanloom, Veljko Jovanović and Tim Taylor. The abstract says:

“Social scientists have been interested in measuring the prosperity, well-being, and quality of life of nations, which has resulted in a multiplicity of country-level indicators. However, little is known about the factor structure of these indicators.

We explored the structure of quality of life, using country-level data on tens of subjective and objective indicators. Applying factor analysis, we identified three distinct factors that exhibited both overlap and complementarity. This structure was replicated in data from previous years and with a partially different set of variables.

The first factor, ‘socio-economic progress’, is dominated by socio-political and economic indicators but also includes life satisfaction, which thus appears to reflect objective living conditions.

The second factor, ‘psycho-social functioning’, consists of subjective indicators, such as eudaimonic well-being and positive affective states.

The third, ‘negative affectivity’, comprises negatively-valenced affective states.

The three macro-factors of societal quality of life demonstrated moderate intercorrelations and differential associations with cultural and ecological variables, providing support for their discriminant validity.

Finally, country and regional rankings based on the three societal factors revealed a complex picture that cautions against over-reliance on any single indicator such as life satisfaction.

The results underline the need for a broadly-based approach to the measurement of societal quality of life, and provide an empirically-derived multidimensional framework for conceptualizing and measuring quality of life and well-being at country level. This study is thus an initial empirical step towards systematizing the multiple approaches to societal quality of life”.

You can find out more – and read the entire article – from here.

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