The Development and Application of Multidimensional Well-being Measures

Webinar with Jaya Krishnakumar, Giulia Greco & Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti
18 June, Friday, 09:00 - 11:00 BST (GMT+1) / 10:00 - 12:00 (CEST/GMT +2)

Description: In this session, Jaya Krishnakumar, Giulia Greco and Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti will join us for a panel discussion on developing multidimensional wellbeing measures in varied contexts and with diverse data sources. Starting with the necessity to measure concepts for monitoring and evaluation, Jaya Krishnakumar will go over various approaches to measurement of wellbeing in terms of capabilities as well as functionings, with particular emphasis on statistical and econometric models. Giulia Greco will then discuss the determination of weights in a composite measure, highlighting four different weighting methods and showing how these different aggregation methods matter for identifying the “worst off”. Finally, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti will proceed with a discussion on measuring inequalities from a multidimensional perspective using budget allocation techniques in contexts and circumstances where standard techniques may not be fully adequate. The session will conclude with a discussion amongst the panellists on how we can better adapt our methodologies to accord with the context of interest and available data sources, as well as questions from the audience.

Register through Eventbrite here


Jaya Krishnakumar is a full professor of Econometrics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and has publications in several international econometrics/economics journals. Her research interests include theoretical and applied econometrics, as well as quantitative methods for multi-dimensional well-being analysis. She is frequently invited to serve in the Advisory Board of various global initiatives by UN and other international organisations.


Giulia Greco is an Assistant Professor in Health Economics in the Department for Global Health and Development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main research interest is on the measurement and determinants of subjective wellbeing and capabilities, and their use in the evaluation of complex public health interventions, in particular women’s health and mental health. She is a coordinator of the Health & Disability Thematic Group at the HDCA, and associate editor for the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.


Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti is full professor of Economics and Head of the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Pavia. She is editor of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities and has been Vice-President of the Human Development and Capability Association from 2004 until 2008 and in 2011. Her main research interests are on well-being, poverty and inequality analysis with special attention to the capability and human development approach; gender empowerment; youth vulnerability and marginalization; social innovation and human development.



April - July 2021 Webinar Series

Multidimensional Well-Being:
Concepts, Measurement, & Applications

Questions/Suggestions? E-mail us at: 2021multidimensional [at] gmail.com

The webinar series brings together and into conversation established scholars, junior researchers, and practitioners working to conceptualise, measure, and improve multidimensional well-being. It addresses and allows for discussion regarding both long-standing and contemporary issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of well-being, with a special focus on applications related to the Capability Approach.


General themes running through the series include concepts of well-being, philosophies of well-being measurement, methodological issues including formal procedures for multidimensional measurement, the role of participation and deliberation, empirical applications and challenges, policy uses and implications, and current research frontiers.


The series is hosted by a group of junior HDCA scholars and aims at providing a forum for exchanges and discussions between junior and senior researchers and practitioners, and in combining their competencies. All are welcome.


Full Webinar Schedule

1. Democratising Measurement: A Case Study from Well-Being Public Policy
Anna Alexandrova & Mark Fabian
6 April 11:00 - 12:30 BST (GMT +1)
Recording available here

Abstract: There is now widespread recognition that well-being, educational success, fairness, equality, poverty, etc. are value-laden. There is less agreement on a responsible way of measuring their value. This is a tricky issue for public policy because governments need effective measures for benchmarking, impact evaluation, and other forms of accountability, but would ideally like to leave value judgements to citizens. Our research explores the potential of coproduction mechanisms to chart a course through these dilemmas.

We'll present a case study from our work around coproducing a theory and measure/s of thriving for the national poverty charity Turn2Us. These outputs will inform their work in a variety of ways, including assessment criteria for giving grants and the charity's campaigning work in the social policy space. We'll explain our rationale for coproduction, discuss our preliminary results in comparison to other efforts underway in well-being public policy, and identify some of the lessons learned for applying coproduction in value-laden policy domains.

Our results indicate that 'off the shelf' theories and measures of value-laden concepts developed by experts often require substantial translation and tailoring to be suitable to applied policy. This underscores the need to develop more 'bottom up' approaches to measurement.


2. Using the Capability Approach to Conceptualise Wellbeing
Ingrid Robeyns
19 April 18:30 - 20:30 BST (GMT +1)
Recording available here

Abstract: The capability approach is one of the many different frameworks that can be used to conceptualise well-being. This seminar will address the following questions: How does one use the capability approach to conceptualise wellbeing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the capability approach to conceptualise well-being? For which purposes is this an appropriate framework, and in which contexts should one consider using another framework? What are the consequences for the deeply inter- and multidisciplinary nature of the capability approach to its conceptualisation of wellbeing? And finally, what are some points of attention to keep in mind if one wants to use this framework not just for conceptualising well-being, but also for empirical research and policy making?


3. Methodological Options and Challenges for Measuring Multidimensional Well-Being
José Manuel Roche
7 June 11:00 - 12:30 BST (GMT+1) / 12:00 - 13:30 (CEST/GMT +2)
Recording available here

Abstract: Turning complex conceptual frameworks into operational applications implies a series of methodological decisions that are not free of challenges. The capability approach is far from an exception. This third webinar of the series on measuring multidimensional well-being invites reflection on some of these methodological challenges, in close connection with themes from previous webinars in the series. This webinar will host an open conversation with Dr. José Manuel Roche, drawing also on questions from the audience.

Some of the guiding questions during our conversation will include: What are the most common measurement approaches used in the capabilities approach, and what are the pros and cons of different methods? When it comes to creating metrics of multidimensional well-being, what are the key methodological decisions behind aggregation, and how do different methods approach them? As a related formal issue, how do measurement applications deal with ‘values’ in different stages of measurement, for example in the choice of evaluation space, unit of analysis, dimensions, choice of indicators or weights, and how can different purposes or contexts affect the justification for different measurement applications? And finally, what does the reality of shortcomings of available data entail for methodological choices in practical applications of the capability approach?


4. The Development and Application of Multidimensional Well-being Measures
Jaya Krishnakumar, Giulia Greco & Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti
18 June, 09:00-11:00 BST (GMT +1) / 10:00 – 12:00 (CEST/GMT +2)
Register through Eventbrite here

Abstract: In this session, Jaya Krishnakumar, Giulia Greco and Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti will join us for a panel discussion on developing multidimensional wellbeing measures in varied contexts and with diverse data sources. Starting with the necessity to measure concepts for monitoring and evaluation, Jaya Krishnakumar will go over various approaches to measurement of wellbeing in terms of capabilities as well as functionings, with particular emphasis on statistical and econometric models. Giulia Greco will then discuss the determination of weights in a composite measure, highlighting four different weighting methods and showing how these different aggregation methods matter for identifying the “worst off”. Finally, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti will proceed with a discussion on measuring inequalities from a multidimensional perspective using budget allocation techniques in contexts and circumstances where standard techniques may not be fully adequate. The session will conclude with a discussion amongst the panellists on how we can better adapt our methodologies to accord with the context of interest and available data sources, as well as questions from the audience.


5. Multidimensional Well-Being Measures as Policy-Instruments
Karen Scott
(Date and time TBD)


6. Limitations and Frontiers: Concepts, Measures, and Applications
Sabina Alkire
(Date and time TBD)