What if we voted on the weights of a multidimensional well-being index? An illustration with Flemish data
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Antwerp :Centre for Social Policy Herman Deleeck, 2011
CSB working paper : University of Antwerp, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy ; 2011:10
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 be used. Making use of a recent data set for Flanders, we compare various methods to select a weighting scheme. The results are indeed different such that, for instance, 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 hypothetical voting procedure. Weighting schemes that obtain a higher support reflect better the priorities of the respondents themselves and suffer less from the problem of paternalism. Quite remarkably, the popular equal weighting scheme is found to be the least supported in our data set.