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Home Publications What If We Voted on the Weights of a Multidimensional Well-Being Index? An Illustration with Flemish Data

What If We Voted on the Weights of a Multidimensional Well-Being Index? An Illustration with Flemish Data

Koen Decancq, Luc Van Ootegem and Elsy Verhofstadt
Journal article | Fiscal Studies, Vol.34, No. 3, September 2013
There is a widespread consensus that well-being is a multidimensional notion. To quantify multidimensional well-being, information on the relative weights of the different dimensions is essential. There is, however, considerable disagreement in the literature on the most appropriate weighting scheme to use. Making use of a recent data set for Flanders, we calculate and compare various common weighting schemes, which are uniformly applied to all individuals. We find that a policymaker would identify different groups of individuals as being worst off depending on the scheme that is chosen. In order to compare and evaluate the weighting schemes, we simulate the support each scheme would get in a voting procedure. Weighting schemes that obtain higher support reflect better the priorities of the respondents and suffer less from the problem of paternalism that is inherent to any common weighting scheme.