John F. Helliwell


This paper argues that measures of life satisfaction, now being collected annually by the Gallup World Poll in more than 130 countries, permit a much broader view of the quality and consequences of development than other common measures. While these data show the importance of conventionally measured economic development, they also show the importance of many other elements of life that are also affected, whether deliberately or not, by community, national, and international institutions and policies. In estimating the importance of these other factors, this paper pays special attention to the social context of well-being: the norms, networks and relationships within which lives are lived.


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