Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A New Measure of Quality of Life and Its Application in the Regions of the Russian Federation
by Safonov, Taras Aleksandrovich, M.A., Western Illinois University, 2015, 113; 1597385
Abstract (Summary)

The search for a reliable measure of the quality of life (QOL) has long been a heavily discussed issue for many a researcher and a policy analyst. Despite much debate in theoretical and practical circles, there is still no consensus on either what exactly constitutes QOL or on the universal formula to quantify this concept. For instance, the United Nations’ Human Development Index is arguably one of the most well-known indicators of people’s welfare that allows one to compare QOL across countries and regional blocs.

However, the practice of regional policy development and administration shows that government authorities at all levels require a comprehensive tool that would allow them to assess QOL in different regions of a country to develop improved policies aimed at increasing people’s well-being. This is of particular relevance for large federative countries, such as Russia, where official statistics do not employ a spatially comparable aggregate indicator that would measure QOL in the regions.

Therefore, this study attempts to address this issue by following the three research objectives. Firstly, a spatially comparable standardized comprehensive Quality of Life Index (QOLI) is derived for each of the 83 Russian constituent territories based on the data provided by the Russian Federal State Statistics Service for the years 2009-2013. The index is calculated across five dimensions (Physical Well-Being, Decent Standard of Living, Social Security & Inequality, Hospitable Environment, and Education) and incorporates 16 indicators such as Mortality Rates, Average Income, the Gini Coefficient, or Education Attainment, and does not have an analogue in Russian Official Statistics.

The QOLI does not assign weights to its components, letting data “tell their story” in estimating ceteris paribus effects of each of the 16 elements of the QOLI through a series of techniques, which allows to find out what indicator or a group of indicators have the most weight in determining the aggregate index and what parameters affect it only slightly. For instance, the study has found out that health and affordability of living might be the key factors in shaping the level of people’s well-being and that people might be more interested in how their income compares to overall affordability of life in a region rather than what their income amounts to in absolute value. The need for this type of analysis is suggested by practice: policy administrators at various levels usually need to know what factors are most important for reaching higher levels of well-being in order to formulate their policy plans.

The study goes on to elaborate on the derived index methodology, studying spatial and temporal trends in the QOLI that might prevail, for example, in such natural regional groupings as the capital regions or the northern territories. The study also suggests an algorithm of estimating the sustainability of changes in the QOLI, which may prove useful for policy analysts at the step of feasibility research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dehkordi-Vakil, Farideh H.
Commitee: Kaul, Tej K., Lin, Jessica L.
School: Western Illinois University
Department: Economics
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Statistics, Economics
Keywords: Aggregate measure, Official statistics, Quality of life, Regional index, Russian regions, Sub-national level
Publication Number: 1597385
ISBN: 978-1-339-00215-6
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