Surv. Perspect. Integr. Environ. Soc., 1, 11-15, 2008
www.surv-perspect-integr-environ-soc.net/1/11/2008/
doi:10.5194/sapiens-1-11-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
 
15 Feb 2008
An integrative approach to quality of life measurement, research, and policy
R. Costanza1,2, B. Fisher1,2, S. Ali2, C. Beer3, L. Bond4, R. Boumans1,2, N. L. Danigelis5, J. Dickinson6, C. Elliott3, J. Farley1,7, D. Elliott Gayer7, L. MacDonald Glenn8, T. R. Hudspeth2, D. F. Mahoney9, L. McCahill10, B. McIntosh11, B. Reed12, S. Abu Turab Rizvi13, D. M. Rizzo14, T. Simpatico10, and R. Snapp15
1Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
2Rubenstein School of Environm. and Natural Resources, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
3Dept. of Political Science, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
4Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
5Dept. of Sociology, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
6Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
7Dept. of Community Dev. and Appl. Econ., Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
8Dept. of Nursing, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
9Dept. of German and Russian, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
10College of Medicine, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
11School of Business Administration, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
12Dept. of Physical Therapy, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
13Dept. of Economics, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
14Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
15Dept. of Computer Science, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA

Abstract. While Quality of Life (QOL) has long been an explicit or implicit policy goal, adequate definition and measurement have been elusive. Diverse "objective" and "subjective" indicators across a range of disciplines and scales, and recent work on subjective well-being (SWB) surveys and the psychology of happiness have spurred renewed interest. Drawing from multiple disciplines, we present an integrative definition of QOL that combines measures of human needs with subjective well-being or happiness. QOL is proposed as a multi-scale, multi-dimensional concept that contains interacting objective and subjective elements. We relate QOL to the opportunities that are provided to meet human needs in the forms of built, human, social and natural capital (in addition to time) and the policy options that are available to enhance these opportunities. Issues related to defining, measuring, and scaling these concepts are discussed, and a research agenda is elaborated. Policy implications include strategies for investing in opportunities to maximize QOL enhancement at the individual, community, and national scales.

Citation: Costanza, R., Fisher, B., Ali, S., Beer, C., Bond, L., Boumans, R., Danigelis, N. L., Dickinson, J., Elliott, C., Farley, J., Elliott Gayer, D., MacDonald Glenn, L., Hudspeth, T. R., Mahoney, D. F., McCahill, L., McIntosh, B., Reed, B., Abu Turab Rizvi, S., Rizzo, D. M., Simpatico, T., and Snapp, R.: An integrative approach to quality of life measurement, research, and policy, Surv. Perspect. Integr. Environ. Soc., 1, 11-15, doi:10.5194/sapiens-1-11-2008, 2008.
 
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