Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Measuring well-being: A Buen Vivir (living well) indicator for Ecuador

Mero-Figueroa, Marina and Galdeano-Gómez, Emilio and Piedra-Muñoz, Laura and Obaco, Moisés (2020): Measuring well-being: A Buen Vivir (living well) indicator for Ecuador. Published in: Social Indicators Research , Vol. 152, (14 July 2020): pp. 265-287.

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Buen Vivir (Living Well in English) is a concept that breaks traditional paradigms. The central idea which underpins this philosophy is the balanced relationship between people and their community and natural surroundings. In other terms, it is based on enjoying human rights responsibly while respecting common goods within the context of a harmonious coexistence. The present study explores this idea to measure well-being in Ecuador, one of the countries where this concept was first introduced. The multidimensional nature of Buen Vivir involves a great deal of complexity when conducting analyses from a holistic perspective, which is the reason empirical studies on this issue are quite scarce. In the present work, an indicator is constructed by weighing different sub-indicators of well-being, such happiness and life satisfaction, trust and satisfaction with government and community, security, physical housing characteristics and environmental concern. For this purpose, individual data on the Ecuadorian population were analyzed in the period 2014-2016. The results reveal an average national indicator of 68 over 100, which could be considered relatively good. The highest levels are found in security, housing characteristics and happiness. This study also explores the heterogeneity among provinces, regions and urban/rural areas, and how Buen Vivir is related to individual characteristics. It shows that, rather than considering the well-being of people to be merely income-dependent, economic policies should take into account other aspects related to Buen Vivir, such as the protection of the environment and people’s traditional livelihoods.

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