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ERIC Number: ED318681
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
What Is Quality of Life?
Jamieson, Dale; Sneed, Joseph D.
Is the concept of "quality of life" potentially an important one for public policy analysis, or must it remain forever vague and controversial, resisting clear definition and scientific measurement? Everyday usage of the phrase is examined as well as its relation to other terms like "happiness" and "welfare." It is concluded that one reason for introducing the phrase "quality of life" into discussion of public policy is to have something to replace the now unfashionable terms "general happiness" or "social welfare." Various definitions of the phrase are examined, three objective and two subjective: (1) Quality of life i R is per capita gross regional income in R; (2) Quality of life in R is the degree to which people in R are provided with basic goods and services; (3) Quality of life in R is proportional to the fraction of R's population for which the necessary conditions for happiness are provided; (4) Quality of life in R is the level of happiness reported by the residents of R; and (5) Quality of life in R is the degree to which the preferences of individuals in R are satisfied. Three conclusions are drawn: (1) the concept of quality of life is an evaluative concept that embodies some theory about the nature of the good and how people should live their lives; (2) different definitions of the phrase will be appropriate at different times, depending on the nature of the decision and of the affected community; and (3) although no set of social indicators can be definitive of quality of life, social indicators are essential to informed decision making. They also serve to politicize decisions that are relevant to quality of life. (JB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A