Measuring wellbeing inequality: What are the appropriate indicators of wellbeing inequality –

New Economics Foundation, May 2018

This working paper presents research commissioned by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and carried out by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in collaboration with the What Works Centre for Well-being. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of different measures of wellbeing inequality and to make a recommendation of a measure which could be reported by the ONS alongside mean wellbeing.   It identifies three distinct reasons why people cared about wellbeing inequality. These were:

  • Dispersion aversion – that large differences in life experiences are inherently undesirable
  • Suffering aversion – placing a special status on individuals experiencing wellbeing below a particular threshold
  • Weighted universalism – valuing improvements in wellbeing for everyone, though with more value given to improvements in wellbeing for those at the bottom of the distribution.

This paper aims to open up discussion about appropriate indicators of wellbeing inequality.

Click here to view the full report.

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