Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference Journal Article uri icon



  • This paper proposes foundations and a methodology for survey-based tracking of well-being. First, we develop a theory in which utility depends on “fundamental aspects” of well-being, measurable with surveys. Second, drawing from psychologists, philosophers, and economists, we compile a comprehensive list of such aspects. Third, we demonstrate our proposed method for estimating the aspects' relative marginal utilities—a necessary input for constructing an individual-level well-being index—by asking ∼4,600 US survey respondents to state their preference between pairs of aspect bundles. We estimate high relative marginal utilities for aspects related to family, health, security, values, freedom, happiness, and life satisfaction. (JEL C43, C83, D12, I31)

publication date

  • September 1, 2014

Full Author List

  • Benjamin DJ; Heffetz O; Kimball MS; Szembrot N

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2698

end page

  • 2735


  • 104


  • 9