New Zealand Association of Economists conference 2010

The determinants of subjective wellbeing in New Zealand: an empirical look at New Zealand’s social welfare function

Authors

Denise Brown, Julie Woolf and Conal Smith

Abstract

A primary concern of any government is the wellbeing of its citizens. This raises the issue of measurement: if wellbeing is the goal of social policy, then evidence-based social policy requires a metric for wellbeing against which the success or failure of social policy initiatives can be assessed. Recently, cardinal notions of utility have gained an increasing level of credibility following convincing evidence that notions of subjective wellbeing can be empirically measured through relatively straightforward questions carried in sample surveys. This paper analyses the determinants of subjective wellbeing using data from the 2008 New Zealand General Social Survey.

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