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Measuring Welfare beyond GDP : 'Objective' and 'Subjective' Indicators in Sweden, 1968–2015
Göteborgs universitet, Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1577-3570
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT. (Digital resources and services)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5196-7148
2017 (English)In: Valuation Studies, ISSN 2001-5992, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 7-38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyses a series of negotiations on how to measure welfare and quality of life in Sweden beyond economic indicators. It departs from a 2015 Government Official Report that advanced a strong recommendation to measure only ‘objective indicators’ of quality of life, rather than relying on what is referred to as ‘subjective indicators’ such as life satisfaction and happiness. The assertion of strictly ‘objective’ indicators falls back on a sociological perspective developed in the 1970s, which conceived of welfare as being measurable as ‘levels of living’, a framework that came to be called ‘the Scandinavian model of welfare research’. However, in the mid-2000s, objective indicators were challenged scientifically by the emerging field of happiness studies, which also found political advocates in Sweden who argued that subjective indicators should become an integral part of measuring welfare. This tension between ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ measurements resulted in a controversy between several actors about what should count as a valuable measurement of welfare. As a consequence, we argue that the creation of such value meters is closely intertwined with how welfare is defined, and by what measures welfare should be carried through.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 5, no 1, p. 7-38
Keywords [en]
Measurement, happiness, welfare, valuation, social sciences, value meter
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-12831DOI: 10.3384/VS.2001-5992.17517OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-12831DiVA, id: diva2:1148397
Projects
Samproduktionen av samhällsvetenskap och samhälle: exemplet lyckoforskning
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Swedish Research Council, 2012-1117Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-15Bibliographically approved

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Kullenberg, ChristopherNelhans, Gustaf

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Citation style
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