The indicator of a happy, long and sustainable life

Renaud Gaucher, Issaka Dialga, Coralie Vennin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many indicators are used to measure the quality of life of people and, consequently, these can be used to inform us about the quality of public policies. We propose to clarify this situation by asking one simple question: What is really important for us as an individual? This question can be asked to anyone and we could build a main indicator for public policies using this question and the responses of people. Our personal response is the following: What is really important for us as an individual is to live a happy and long life, and a life that does not prevent following generations from having lives as happy and long as ours, that is a sustainable life. We have built an indicator that fits this purpose. As we are negative utilitarianists and we consider that reducing premature deaths is more important than lengthening the duration of life, the indicator follows these two approaches. We give the cross-sectional results of the indicator of a happy, long and sustainable life, and we discuss the advantages and shortcomings of the indicator and avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-75
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021


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