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Journal section "Social development"

Assessing the Level of Happiness: a Review of Russian and Foreign Research

Shmatova Y.E., Morev M.V.

3 (39), 2015

Shmatova Y.E., Morev M.V. Assessing the Level of Happiness: a Review of Russian and Foreign Research. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2015, no. 3 (39), pp. 141-162. DOI: 10.15838/esc/2015.3.39.11

DOI: 10.15838/esc/2015.3.39.11

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The article presents the main results of the first phase of the study launched in 2015 by ISEDT RAS researchers and aimed at assessing subjective satisfaction with the quality of life and its impact on social development. The article shows that subjective assessment of quality of life is a criterion for assessing the efficiency of public administration, an indicator of people’s attitude toward economic, social and political decisions. The generalization of domestic and international experience serves as the basis proving that in the post-industrial economy the phenomenon of happiness is important as a goal of public administration and criterion for evaluating its effectiveness from the viewpoint of politicians, economists, sociologists and psychologists. The authors consider the main international and national indicators and ratings of happiness that help to carry out cross-country comparisons, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages of index methodologies for assessing the level of happiness are as follows: the use of national averages without taking into account the uneven distribution of benefits and driving forces of spiritual and moral development of individuals; lack of opportunity to make prompt and regular calculations of the indices and to take into account the specifics of countries, cultural and ethnic differences. The integral indicator does not even reflect problems highlighted by partial indices. The article also substantiates the necessity of using self-representative questionnaire methods as the most reliable sources of information about the level of people’s subjective satisfaction with the quality of life, and highlights several methodological features of their application. The authors provide research findings by VTsIOM, RAS Institute of Sociology, and ISEDT RAS, which not only assess the level of happiness, but also identify a set of conditions affecting its formation: financial well-being, family relationships, satisfaction with one’s profession

Keywords

happiness economics; subjective life satisfaction; well-being; methods of assessing the level of happiness; assessment of public administration efficiency; non-economic driving forces of economic growth

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