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  • 29 Mar 2022 10:34 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Changes in Subjective Well-Being are not Related to Income Growth

    Recent research conducted by Richard Easterlin of the University of Southern California and Kelsey J. O’Connor of STATEC Research (Luxembourg) challenges traditional economic policy targets, confirming previous findings that changes in subjective well-being are not related to income growth in the long-run.

    The new results, published in the Handbook of Labor, Human Resources and Population Economics, are based on the most extensive relevant data sets, including the Gallup World Poll with more than 120 relevant countries. Even in the relatively less affluent countries, economic growth does not lead to greater subjective well-being. China serves as a notable example – from 1990 to 2018, the country experienced largely unprecedented economic growth but little to no increase in subjective well-being.

    The authors address common criticisms. One of the more persistent is based on fluctuations in GDP per capita and subjective well-being. It is true that they are positively related in the short-run, especially when GDP per capita falls in times of recession; however, in longer periods characterized by both recessions and expansions, the impact of economic growth is reduced to nil.

    How did wealthier countries get to be better off if economic growth does not lastingly increase well-being? They got a head start implementing the insights from social science – insights such as monetary and fiscal policy to stabilize business cycles, and the social safety net. This implementation did not depend greatly on income however. Germany initiated social insurance in the 1880s when it had real GDP per capita of less than $4000 (in 2011 dollars). Likewise, Costa Rica (who reports subjective well-being among the highest in the world) implemented social policy at a similarly low level of real GDP per capita, approximately $3000 in the 1940s.

    The present insights indicate policy makers should go beyond GDP to promote subjective well-being. Additional studies by the authors provide initial evidence supporting full employment and social safety net policies. We need more evidence generally, but know it is possible to promote subjective well-being. On average it has trended upward around the world in the past few decades.

    The article provides further support for and explanation of the often-debated Easterlin Paradox. First discovered by Richard Easterlin in 1974, the Easterlin Paradox consists in the findings that richer people (or countries) on average report higher subjective well-being than poorer ones, but over time this relationship vanishes, that is changes in subjective well-being are not related to income growth in the long run.

    Social comparisons can explain the seemingly contradictory findings between the point-of-time and time series relationships. People benefit from comparing their incomes with those of the less fortunate (and the less fortunate report less subjective well-being when comparing their incomes to the wealthy), but over time, as incomes increase throughout the population, the incomes of one’s comparison group rises along with one’s own income, which vitiates the otherwise positive effect of own-income growth on subjective well-being.

    The full research results are available in the publication:

    Easterlin R.A., O’Connor K.J. (2021) The Easterlin Paradox. In: Zimmermann K.F. (eds) Handbook of Labor, Human Resources and Population Economics. Springer, Cham.

    A free working paper version is available from the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

  • 2 Mar 2022 2:20 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)



    Richard Estes and Joe Sirgy would like to announce with great sadness the passing of Harry Halloran—a friend, colleague and philanthropist who contributed to the support of many ISQOLS activities. Acting in his capacity as President and Chairman of the Board of the American Refining Group, Harry allocated a large share of the organization’s profits to funding Halloran Philanthropies, a not-for-profit charity which continues to focus on building ethical leadership among emerging entrepreneurs, environmental protection through the use of non-fossil fuels, cultural renewal among indigenous peoples, and the advancement of worldwide quality of life through scholarship.

    Consistent with these goals Harry supported original research and writing projects for a large number of the Society’s most seasoned scholars, supported many interim conferences as well as three of the Society’s international meetings.  The Society, in turn, acknowledged Harry’s varied contributions by awarding Halloran Philanthropies the 2016 Award for the Betterment of the Human Condition. Thank you Harry and may you Rest In Peace.

  • 27 Feb 2022 5:33 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    The UJ School of Economics and the Library invites you to a webinar titled: You’ll never walk alone: loneliness, religion and economics

    ABSTRACT ¡ Happiness is an elusive entity and difficult to define, especially in time of uncertainty and change. Yet, loneliness, which can be thought as the opposite of happiness in many ways, is also a very particular condition and relates to a feeling that is very clearly connected to the current COVID-19 pandemic, which entailed isolation, lockdowns and social distancing. This study examines the change in feelings of loneliness in relation to the pandemic and in relation to local and individual cultural factors. Using data for the UK on regional (super output level) and individual level from the Office of National Statistics, I employ difference-in-differences approach to explore the role of local level of altruism and social capital as a pre-determinant of the experienced level of loneliness before and during the pandemic. Using a hierarchical model, I also explore the relationship of interpersonal differences in demographic characteristics and cultural attitudes (especially degree of religiosity) as predictors of the differences in the aggregate social experience of loneliness across space. The results show that controlling for objective socio-economic factors of the Mincer equation, loneliness associates significantly and negatively with mental health and positively with levels of religiosity of an individual. It is also in negative relationship with the local level of altruism and social capital. Places with low levels of altruism experience higher levels of loneliness both before and during the pandemic. These findings suggest that the religious narrative has the role of an alleviation of pain in the subjective utility function of people, but effectively and objectively places that are less altruistic experience greater loneliness with the corresponding greater mental health aftermaths.

    PRESENTER ¡ Annie Tubadji – Swansea University, Wales, UK. FACILITATOR ¡ Prof Talita Greyling – Associate Professor, School of Economics, UJ. DATE ¡ 3 March 2022 TIME ¡ 11:00 (SAST) VENUE ¡

    Annie Tubadji is an Assistant Professor in Economics at Swansea University, the UK. She is a cultural economist studying cultural bias in economic choice and its implications for happiness, altruism and socio-economic development. Annie has been developing her unique research paradigm termed Culture Based Development (CBD) since 2007. In 2021, the Learned Society of Wales awarded Annie’s CBD paradigm with the Dillwyn Medal for Social Sciences. Earlier, the CBD Hypothesis was awarded the 2010 “Student Paper Award” by the Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT), Western Social Science Association meeting,

    Talita Greyling is an Associate Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. She specializes in well-being economics and quality of life studies and has a keen interest in fourth industrial revolution applications. She developed the initial “Happiness Index” using Big Data. Consequently, she partnered with Dr Stephanie Rossouw and established the Gross National Project (, which continuously research and develop the index. The project received the Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for Innovation

    UJ_SoE_YoullNeverWalkAlone_INVITE _3March2022 (1).pdf

  • 18 Feb 2022 3:13 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Measuring Progress: STATEC Well-being Seminar Series

    1 March 2022

    17:00 CET (11:00 AM Eastern) – 18:00 CET (12:00 PM Eastern)

    Dr. Maria Rosalia Vicente, University of Oviedo

    Dr. Pablo de Pedraza, European Commission, Joint Research Centre

    Are Spaniards Happier When the Bars Are Open? Using Life Satisfaction to Evaluate COVID-19 Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs)

    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged governments worldwide with the design of appropriate policies that maximize health outcomes while minimizing economic and mental health consequences. This paper explores sources of individuals’ life satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic, paying special attention to the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). We studied the specific case of Spanish regions and focused on bar and restaurant closures using data from a continuous voluntary web survey that we merged with information about region-specific policies that identified when and where bars and restaurants were closed. We estimated an endogenous binary-treatment-regression model and found that closing bars and restaurants had a significant negative impact on happiness. The results were statistically significant after controlling for the pandemic context, health, income, work, and other personal characteristics and circumstances. We interpreted the results in terms of the positive effect of socialization, individuals’ feelings of freedom, and the comparative nature of life satisfaction.

    Dr. Maria Rosalia Vicente is an associate professor at the Department of Applied Economics in the University of Oviedo (Spain). Her research interests focus on information and communication technologies (ICT), their socio-economic effects, and the use of big data for economic forecasting. Her research appears in journals such as: Applied Economic LettersEconomic LettersComputers in Human BehaviourGovernment Information QuarterlyInformation & ManagementThe Information SocietyResearch EvaluationTechnological Forecasting and Social Change, and Telecommunications Policy.

    Dr. Pablo de Pedraza is a researcher and project manager at the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Monitoring, Indicators and Impact Evaluation Unit. He works on indexes related to small business and conducts research on topics including the data economy, life satisfaction, job insecurity, the labor market, and web-based data collection methods. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Wage Indicator foundation, which conducts multinational and multilingual labour oriented web surveys. He also coordinated Webdatanet, a network that brought together experts aiming to address methodological issues of web-based data collection.

    The webinar will be held in English via Cisco Webex and recorded.

    Registration is mandatory for this event.

    Meeting password: AUmCma5b22@


    Or use the link:

  • 8 Jan 2022 12:47 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Call for papers: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Social Cohesion across the Globe

    Together with Mandi Larsen and Georgi Dragolov, ISQOLS member Jan Delhey organizes a special issue of the journal Frontiers in Sociology on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on social cohesion.

    Contributors are encouraged to address the impact of the pandemic on aspects of social cohesion, such as:
    - Social relations and loneliness;
    - Trust in others;
    - Attitudes towards diversity;
    - Identification and feelings of connection to society;
    - Institutional trust, particularly in political institutions;
    - Inequality, exclusion and polarization;
    - Solidarity and helpfulness;

    - Civic and political engagement.

    The editors particularly welcome original empirical contributions making use of quantitative data and, ideally, involving a comparative perspective. We seek to cover a broad range of countries, regions, and cultures, with a special interest in those that typically do not receive extensive attention in the literature (e.g., the Global South).

    The timeline is as follows:

    ·        Abstract submission: 28 February 2022

    • Manuscript submission: 31 May 2022

    For more information, please visit:

  • 26 Dec 2021 10:01 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Well-being 2022: knowledge for informed decisions,

    to be held in Luxembourg on 1 – 4 June 2022.  Many of you know we had planned to host this conference in 2020 but postponed it due to COVID-19. The current plans have expanded some to include a pre-conference workshop. For complete details see below, the attached call for papers, or the website To avoid cancelation or further postponement, we anticipate making use of the CovidCheck system, which certifies whether someone is fully vaccinated, recently recovered, or has tested negative in the past 48 or 72 hours. See details here.


      The deadline for application is 31 January 2022.


      Please share with anyone potentially interested.


      The Organizing Committee




      Call for papers:


      International Conference “Well-being 2022: knowledge for informed decisions”

      Hotel Parc Bellevue, Luxembourg, 1 – 4 of June 2022


      Organized by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (STATEC) and the Ministry of the Economy, Luxembourg

      This international conference will bring together leading scholars to discuss the quest for better lives. Economists traditionally advocated economic growth as the foremost policy goal, but now even economists often challenge this view. The discussion remains open, indeed flourishes, with more contributors than ever. How do we promote well-being? What are the best policies? What is the role for civil society? How can these insights help us to address the environmental, social, and economic challenges of today and the future?

      The conference will take place over four days from 1 – 4 of June 2022. We will host three keynotes speeches, a roundtable discussing how policy-makers can integrate the findings from well-being studies, an opening talk from a civil society activist, and a workshop on the World Database of Happiness.

      Topics of the conference


      This is an interdisciplinary conference welcoming contributions from every field of social sciences. We especially welcome papers on the following topics:


    • ·          Correlates and consequences of well-being and ill-being (e.g. personality, wealth, productivity, immigration, occupation, health);
    • ·          Well-being over time;
    • ·          Well-being inequality;
    • ·          Inequality, social capital, and inclusive growth;
    • ·          Well-being and the changing environment;
    • ·          Public or private interventions for well-being and their evaluations;
    • ·          Theory and applications of well-being measures in policy-making;
    • ·          Future directions in well-being research;
    • ·          Well-being and ill-being metrics (e.g. single indicators vs. dashboards; micro vs. macro; big data);
    • ·          The short- and long-run impacts of COVID-19 on well-being and its correlates; and
    • ·          Well-being productivity.


    Key-note speakers

    The three key-note speakers are: Stefano Bartolini, University of Siena; Carol Graham, Brookings Institution and University of Maryland; and Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick.


    Policy round table

    At the “Policy meets research” round table representatives of different institutions will discuss advantages, disadvantages and limitations of the well-being approach in policy making. Confirmed panelists include: Andrew Clark (Paris School of Economics), Carrie Exton (OECD), and three MPs from the Parliament of Luxembourg.


    Perspective from civil society

    John De Graaf, American author, journalist and film-maker, is a member of numerous non-profit organizations, and co-founder of both Take Back Your Time and the Happiness Alliance. In his talk, he will share his perspective on how society can move towards a happier, healthier, and more sustainable quality of life.


    Workshop – “World Database of Happiness: hands on the most comprehensive happiness archive”

    Ruut Veenhoven, the creator of the World Database of Happiness at Erasmus University Rotterdam, will lead participants through the database and how to use it. The database holds more than 40,000 empirical findings on happiness (life satisfaction), which are described in a standard format and terminology, making them easy to sort, for instance by population group, place, method, and correlate. He may also describe some of the current applications of the Database in his research.


    Paper submission and deadlines

    To apply, please, submit an abstract complete with name of the author/s and a title to: Extended abstracts and full manuscripts are welcome. The deadline for application is 31 January 2022. We will notify the authors of accepted papers by the end of March 2022.


    For more information, please, visit our conference website ( or send an e-mail to:


    We look forward to welcoming you in Luxembourg,

    The scientific committee:

    Serge Allegrezza, STATEC

    Martijn Burger, Erasmus University of Rotterdam

    Conchita d’Ambrosio, University of Luxembourg

    Johannes Hirata, Osnabruck University

    Kelsey O’Connor, STATEC Research

    Chiara Peroni, STATEC Research

    Maurizio Pugno, University of Cassino

    Stephanie Rossouw, Auckland University of Technology

    Francesco Sarracino, STATEC Research




  • 15 Dec 2021 4:20 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Only ONE month remaining!

    Abstract Submission Deadline is January 15, 2022

    International Society for Quality-of- Life Studies

    20th Annual Conference

    "Quality-of-Life Resilient Futures:

    Sustainability, Equity, & Wellbeing"

    3-6 August, 2022

    Burlington, Vermont, U.S.A.

    The ISQOLS 2022 Conference in Burlington, Vermont, USA is the first in-person ISQOLS gathering since the global pandemic began. It provides the opportunity to build connections within our interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to promoting quality-of-life and wellbeing. Hosted on the campus of The University of Vermont, the conference provides a forum for reflecting on our collective learning about quality-of-life throughout the global pandemic while providing evidence about how to cultivate resilience at all scales (individual, community, national, global) with a special focus on sustainability, equity, and wellbeing impacts on quality-of-life. We are pleased to welcome researchers, practitioners, students, professionals, faculty, retirees, experts and novices to Burlington, Vermont, USA in August 2022. Selected special events and lectures during the conference will be recorded.

    2022 Conference Vermont USA

  • 24 Nov 2021 7:42 AM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Watch #ISQOLS Board Member, Talita Greyling, present "Gaining The Edge" #BigData#wellbeingeconomics TEDxUniversityofJohannesburg) via @TEDTalks@go2uj

  • 28 Oct 2021 8:09 AM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    CALL FOR ABSTRACTS Handbook Quality of Life 2022 Quality of Life and Social Change: Individual and Collective Paths of Social Change that nurture Quality of Life

    NOTE TO AUTHORS:  The aim of each chapter is to show up alternative ways to tackle social change. For structuring the chapter, concreteness is precious; with on the one hand a pragmatic way of how this was undertaken (WHY/WHERE/WHAT) and on the other the author’s unique path of becoming (WHO), which led to their approach to social change 

    1. Scope The aim of this book is to provide an extensive panorama of theories and practices related to quality of life pursued in the arena of social change. This compilation considers social, economic, environmental, and political/governance aspects as well as communication, design and human behavioural factors that favour or hamper change dynamics. To achieve this aim and to provide a multidisciplinary perspective, the chapters will be written by a diverse set of authors, including both practitioners and academics from various disciplines. This logic of diversity will be applied as well in the selection of different cultural, political and geographical contexts with contributors at different stages of their career. Contributions will be written in a compelling storytelling format that combines the personal experience of the author with their professional perspective.

    2. Content The varied set of perspectives deriving from the authors’ field of experience and expertise will result in a kaleidoscope of first-hand knowledge about the paths that are conducive to quality of life at individual and collective levels. Whereas some chapters will concentrate on the policy dimension, others will provide case-studies, and others methodological innovations. Their common theme will be a holistic angle to social change processes that is not limited in its scope to either the material or the immaterial side of social transformation. The chapters will illustrate connections between micro changes (individual) and the dynamics that derive from it at the meso (community), macro (country) and meta level (planet) as well as quality of life and social change processes that have impact which is sustained through time. The editor will provide an introduction of the holistic perspective to social transformation that is illustrated by the chapters. This perspective is anchored in the understanding that quality of life is the result of alignment between the twice four dimensions that influence human existence at the individual level (soul, heart, mind and body; expressed as aspirations, emotions, thoughts and sensations), and collectively (micro, meso, macro and meta; or individual experiences, communities, countries and the world). A central message is that individual wellbeing (quality of life) is the cause and consequence of collective welfare. One without the other is unsustainable, and both can be promoted by systematically assessing and addressing the mutual interplay that connects them. Within this framework authors are expected to provide their own views, practical experience and theoretical approximation on how the multiple dimensions at stake - play out in relation to quality of life without ties to a monolithic orthodoxy. Each chapter should start with an introduction whereby authors establish their own being and becoming approximately 2,000 words) that led to the philosophy and approach that they are pursuing to build and promote local, national, or global Quality of Life (approximately 5,000 words). Moreover, such a spotlight on social change dynamics that are pursued in the ambition of inclusive quality of life for a maximum of people will shed light onto the multi-faceted nature of individual and collective wellbeing. The featured chapters will illustrate not only both, the material and immaterial factors that matter for individual and collective quality of life, and the change that needs to happen in order to foster it; but they furthermore show patterns related to the mutual interplay of individual (micro), communitarian (meso), national (macro) and global (meta) development. Differently from other volumes on social change and/or quality of life the contributors of this handbook will offer not only their professional and theoretical perspective, but also link this to their own being and becoming; thus, the lived experience that their proposal is grounded in. The Conclusion will serve to highlight common patterns that arise from the different perspectives. Respectively and together the chapters will demonstrate that quality of life and social change mutually condition and nurture each other; which stands in diametrical opposition to the common assumption that one is needed before the other one can be initiated. Keywords: Aid, aspiration, behaviour insights, connection, distribution, economic development, emotion, empowerment, environment, geographical perspective, holistic perspective, humanitarian action, impact, inequality, inequity, influence, institutions, interdisciplinarity, international development, leadership, mental health, mixed-methods, personal development, poverty, public policy, resilience, social norms, social policy, social transformation, sustainability.

    3. Timeline Abstract proposals latest submitted by authors: October 2021 Decisions provided to authors: November 2022 Chapter manuscripts due: May 2022 Revisions and final preparation: May-September 2022 Submit Springer: September 2022 Publication (expected): April 2023

    Core components

    The chapters will be grouped in two main parts: 1) Past and present perspectives, which looks at existing concepts and constellations; and 2) Present and future promises, which explores innovative approaches and applications. Respectively and together these parts will address four questions: WHAT IS QUALITY OF LIFE? Local definitions to QoL. Causes and consequences; WHERE ARE ENTRY POINTS? Logic and limitation of players; WHO IS/SHOULD BE INVOLVED? Holistically Humane foci in social change programs; WHY CHANGE IS NEEDED, NOW? Visions for Social Change. Looking at approximately 40 contributors it is estimated that this Handbook will contain 350,000 words, including introduction, conclusion, references, figures and annexes. In line with the four question that are the backbone of this handbook (WHAT, WHERE, WHO, WHY) the authors will draw on their personal and professional experience. They will look briefly at the core drivers that motivated their journey (WHY they are here, in this line of work and in this collection), their own being and becoming (WHO they are – which influences their research, work and quality of life), and the way it shaped their vision and approach to social change (WHERE they stand in life – their theoretical and methodological perspective), which lead to the methodology and perspective that they are offering in this book (WHAT can be done to build and nurture sustainable social change, thus expanding on practical applications and policy/programmatic recommendations).


    +1 347 845 37 90


    2021-08_Handbook_Holistic QoL_Call for Abstracts.pdf

  • 5 Oct 2021 10:32 PM | Jill Johnson (Administrator)

    Measuring Progress: STATEC Well-being Seminar Series

    15 October 2021

    17:00 CET (11:00 AM Eastern) – 18:00 CET (12:00 PM Eastern) Nuno Nunes Iscte-University Institute of Lisbon






    Inequalities and well-being in Portugal: monitoring through a local system of indicators for Europe

    Abstract: Inequality and well-being are central concerns in today’s world. Recent studies emphasize that inequality constrains well-being, but the findings are mostly supported by analysis between countries, that do not take into consideration inequalities within countries and their specific place-based scope. This seminar has two overarching objectives: first, it aims to present new knowledge about the relations between inequalities and well-being, under the frameworks of OECD Better Life Initiative, in the case of Portugal and their municipalities, with the far-reaching purpose of analytical replication to the other European countries; and second, by proposing a comparable system of indicators that allows for within and between country analysis on inequalities and well-being, to discuss public policies for achieving at local levels in Europe the sustainable development goals of United Nations 2030 Agenda. We propose to operationalise a set of place-based inequality and well-being indicators which make it possible to enhance public policies, supported on a European well-being agenda, that would allow overcoming strict visions of European integration, convergence and social cohesion, objectives that in the current global pandemic crisis are even more challenging for Europe. The results that we will present can contribute for building a system of place-based indicators able to monitor the European 2030 UN Agenda throughout municipalities and regions.

    Prof. Dr. Nuno Nunes, Iscte-University Institute of Lisbon, speaks on behalf of the “Territories of Inequality and Well-Being Project” (TIWELL), which includes Rosário Mauritti, Maria do Carmo Botelho, Daniela Craveiro, Sara Silva and Luís Cabrita and is conducted in the Researh Centre Cies-Iscte. The project contributors have published their work in journals such as European SocietiesJournal of Civil SocietyInternational Studies in Sociology of EducationEducation SciencesSocial Policy and SocietyEuropean Journal of Social WorkInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public HealthHealth and Place, the Portuguese Journal of Social Science, and Sociologia, Problemas e Práticas, among other publications.

    The webinar will be held in English via Cisco Webex and recorded.

    Registration is mandatory for this event.

    Meeting password: p5A3tkxU23*




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Quality-of-Life Studies

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