About the author: Francesco Temperini is a 24-year old MSc graduate in Environmental and Development Economics and a member of WEAll Youth, located in Rome, Italy
I joined WEAll Youth because I think that sharing ideas between people moved by the same interests could lead to a new shape of economic thinking: with Multidimensional Wellbeing as a focal point around which all people and institutions converge.
From my academic experience, I developed a passion for and interest in multidimensional analysis of wellbeing, which I applied in an empirical study in the city I live in, Rome.
Often, economic indicators are synonymous with quality of life, and many times the development of a country is taken into account to measure the wellbeing of that country.
Multi-dimensional analysis speaks to the importance of reshaping the way we measure quality of life and can promote economic thinking centred on how people feel about their lives and how much they are satisfied with it.
Having studied Rome divided in its 15 municipalities and having chosen a representative sample for each municipality, there are lots of inequalities between municipalities for any dimension of wellbeing such as the multidimensional index. This is the aggregation of 9 different dimensions (including: safety, environment, housing, education, satisfactory work, enjoying free time, health, social engagement, travel mobility).
The interesting findings are shown in the image below: in the richest municipalities (highest level of income) there weren’t the highest levels of wellbeing (multidimensional wellbeing indicator). Firstly I was surprised by this result, but then I realised this outcome confirmed my research thesis: profit is merely a tool to reach the state of wellbeing.
The findings can be seen in these two maps: the left one is the level of income maps for municipalities (the darkest colour represents highest values of wellbeing); and the right one is the multidimensional well being map, showing the aggregation of all the nine dimensions I found in my research (the darker colour are higher values of wellbeing).
How can you understand multi-dimensional wellbeing where you are?
For anyone interested in measuring wellbeing in his/her neighbourhood, city, region or country, here is a summary of the measurement process.
First step: take a sample of the population you are interested in to measure the wellbeing. It’s difficult to interview all the population, so it could be good to take a representative sample, divided by age, gender or professional status.
The sampling processes are different, you can choose which one you prefer for example from the this book’s chapter nine. In Rome, used sampling by quota.
Second step: create qualitative research with your sample using a focus group investigation method (group interview composed of a moderator and 6-8 people). In these groups, it’s important to study the aspects of individuals’ life values (the subjective and objective ones). It is crucial to make a group analysis to understand how people interact in the same dimensions of their wellbeing, as well as to underline the individuals’ different points of view and the minority groups’ ideas.
These steps were necessary in my case study because it’s helpful to see how people that live in the same city interact and express the same concerns but different issues related to living in an urban area, as I found in my research, different municipalities have different levels of wellbeing.
Third step: After all this qualitative research, there is an evaluation with all the outcomes of the focus group. The reader will summarise the same issues on a singular dimension and then measure it with more than one indicator( as an example of a dimension: “safety in Rome” is composed of two indicators, a subjective one and an objective one).
Fourth step: Following this process line, it’s time to create a survey based on the focus group’s outcomes, with the survey you can measure the achievement of any wellbeing dimension of the people interviewed.
Fifth step: Then, the sampling population fills out the questionnaires for your city, region or country.
Sixth step: Finally, when you have collected enough data (survey could be filled out either physically or online) of the sample that you choose as representative, you can analyse and aggregate the answers.
Remember that the wellbeing of an individual is currently a much-debated issue. Over time, an attempt has been made to define and measure it at a national as well as an individual level, and even today, no common solution has been found: it clearly is a definition that encompasses several dimensions within it, as well as the approach of human development.