Skip to content

Journal Article

Putting measures of individual well-being to use for ex-ante policy evaluation


Publication date

Dec 2017


Most studies using microsimulation techniques have considered the effect of potential reforms on the income distribution. However, it has become increasingly recognized, both at the academic and political level, that focusing purely on income provides a limited picture of social progress. We illustrate how ex-ante policy evaluation can be performed in terms of richer concepts of individual well-being, such as subjective life satisfaction and equivalent incomes. Our analysis makes use of EUROMOD, the EU-wide tax-benefit microsimulation model, along with 2013 EU-SILC data for Sweden, which for the first time provides information on life satisfaction. Our results show that the effect of potential reforms varies widely depending on the well-being concept used in the evaluation. We discuss the normative questions that are raised by this finding.

Published in

Journal of Economic Inequality

Volume and page numbers

15 , 421 -440





Economics, Income Dynamics, Well Being, and Microsimulation


Open Access; This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.; © The Author(s) 2017

Related publications

  1. Putting subjective well-being to use for ex-ante policy evaluation

    Holguer Xavier Jara Tamayo and Erik Schokkaert

    1. Economics
    2. Income Dynamics
    3. Well Being
    4. Microsimulation


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest