Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Jane Kolodinsky

Secondary Mentor NetID

michael.moser

Secondary Mentor Name

Michael Moser

Status

Graduate

Student College

Graduate College

Program/Major

Community Development and Applied Economics

Primary Research Category

Vermont Studies

Secondary Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Title

Wellbeing in Vermont: Insights from the Happiness Index

Time

3:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Social Sciences

Abstract

New measurement tools have been recently developed to address aspects of societal wellbeing that are not readily captured by traditional economic indicators, such as life satisfaction or environmental health. Subjective wellbeing - one’s reported experience of their own lives - has been incorporated in many new measures of wellbeing in recognition of the value of individual perceptions of life, but questions remain regarding their fitness for use and effective incorporation into public decision-making. This research examines the Vermont Happiness Survey as a tool for wellbeing measurement in Vermont, which is a vetted survey instrument developed by the U.S.-based Happiness Alliance. The survey interviewed a representative sample of Vermonters in 2013 and 2017, and asked scaled questions within eleven defined domains. First, the methodology and fitness for use of subjective wellbeing indices will be reviewed. The results of the survey will then be analyzed through statistical analysis. Lastly, a qualitative comparison between survey responses and other polling and ranking initiatives will shed light on inconsistencies between measurements. The findings will contribute to a greater understanding of how Vermonters perceive various aspects of life, such as their physical health, community vitality, and material wellbeing, as well as correlations between particular demographics and domain satisfaction. A discussion regarding how this information could be used in a policy or decision-making setting, as well as the potential for formal implementation of the survey tool itself, concludes the article.

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Wellbeing in Vermont: Insights from the Happiness Index

New measurement tools have been recently developed to address aspects of societal wellbeing that are not readily captured by traditional economic indicators, such as life satisfaction or environmental health. Subjective wellbeing - one’s reported experience of their own lives - has been incorporated in many new measures of wellbeing in recognition of the value of individual perceptions of life, but questions remain regarding their fitness for use and effective incorporation into public decision-making. This research examines the Vermont Happiness Survey as a tool for wellbeing measurement in Vermont, which is a vetted survey instrument developed by the U.S.-based Happiness Alliance. The survey interviewed a representative sample of Vermonters in 2013 and 2017, and asked scaled questions within eleven defined domains. First, the methodology and fitness for use of subjective wellbeing indices will be reviewed. The results of the survey will then be analyzed through statistical analysis. Lastly, a qualitative comparison between survey responses and other polling and ranking initiatives will shed light on inconsistencies between measurements. The findings will contribute to a greater understanding of how Vermonters perceive various aspects of life, such as their physical health, community vitality, and material wellbeing, as well as correlations between particular demographics and domain satisfaction. A discussion regarding how this information could be used in a policy or decision-making setting, as well as the potential for formal implementation of the survey tool itself, concludes the article.