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date: 25 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The development of robust indicators of happiness, coupled with growing recognition of the limitations of conventional economic measures as indicators of quality of life, has led to interest in comparing the happiness of nations. This chapter begins with a short history of the concept of subjective well-being and its measurement in national surveys. Findings on well-being at the level of societies and individuals are then reviewed. The former concerns how the economic and social conditions of countries are related to their average level of happiness. The latter considers how happy and unhappy individuals may differ across cultures. Next, important issues in analysis of cross-national data, and in the measurement of well-being across cultures are discussed. Advances in cross-cultural psychology have raised the standards for measuring constructs across cultures, and initial applications to well-being measures are examined. The chapter closes with an assessment of future directions for cross-national research on well-being.

Keywords: well-being, happiness, life satisfaction, culture, national surveys

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