Methodological considerations in the measurement of subjective well-being

Publication type

Book Chapter

Series Number

No. 2


OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being


  1. -

Publication date

June 1, 2013


The goal of the present chapter is to outline the available evidence on how survey methodology can affect subjective well-being measures and draw together what is currently known about good practice. The chapter focuses on aspects of survey design and methodology and is organised around five main themes: i) question construction; ii) response formats; iii) question context; iv) survey mode effects and wider survey context effects; and v) response styles and the cultural context in which a survey takes place. Each section is structured around the key measurement issues raised, the evidence regarding their impact, and the implications this has for survey methodology.




References Pudney, S. (2010) 'An experimental analysis of the impact of survey design on measures and models of subjective wellbeing', ISER Working Paper Series, No. 2010-20, Colchester: University of Essex: Institute for Social and Economic Research.

References Conti, G. and Pudney, S. (2011), “Survey Design and the Analysis of Satisfaction”, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 93, No. 3, pp. 1087-1093.

References Jäckle, A., Roberts, C. and Lynn, P. (2006), “Telephone versus face-to-face interviewing: mode effects on data quality and likely causes. Report on Phase II of the ESS-Gallup Mixed Mode Methodology Project, ISER Working Paper Series, No. 2006-41, Colchester: University of Essex: Institute for Social and Economic Research. (Uses European Social Survey)



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