Princeton researchers develop method to better measure peoples quality of life
A new research method that quantifies peoples quality of life -- beyond how much money they make -- could lead to a national index of well-being, similar to key measures of economic health. The Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), developed by Princeton researchers and colleagues from three universities, creates an "enjoyment scale" by requiring people to record the previous days activities in a short diary form and describe their feelings about the experiences. The technique is more effective than current methods of measuring the well-being of individuals and of society, the researchers said in the Dec. 3 issue of Science.
The new tool will be used in an effort to calculate a "national well-being account," a measure similar to economic gauges such as the gross national product. The research team is working with the Gallup Organization to pilot a national telephone survey using the new method. "The potential value is tremendous," said Princeton economist Alan Krueger, who worked with psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, on the study. "Right now we use national income as our main indicator of well-being, but income is only a small contributor to life satisfaction. Ultimately, if our survey is successful and generates the type of data we hope, we would like to see the government implement our method to provide an ongoing measure of well-being in addition to national income."
Eric Quinones | EurekAlert!
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