# OECD Better Life Index: how is it calculated?

May 24, 2011

OECD Better Life Index is calculated using an approach familiar to utilitarianism: grades and weights.

Quoting from http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org

The web application that builds the Index requires some default weights at the start. For simplicity, these weights have been set equal to the grade of 1 for all topics. These default weights do not represent the OECD’s view on the relative importance of each topic.

Weights are assigned by the users, who build and customise their own Index. To do so, users have to rate each topic from 0 (“not important”) to 5 (“very important”). The score given to each topic is converted into a weight, by dividing the grade given to each topic by the sum of the grades given to all topics. For example, if a user assigns of a score of 5 to Health and Education and 3 to all the other topics, their Index will weigh health and education by a factor of 5/37 (i.e. around 13.5%) and all the other topics by a factor of 3/37 (i.e. around 8.1%). The sum of all weights is 100%.

This may also sound familiar if you have been using AmAre Index. Quoting from our book “A course in happiness“:

To assess your current situation, in terms of what facilitates happiness, meaning and fulfilment, please assign in the chart above a weight and a grade to each variable If there are additional aspects you want to assess, just add as many columns as necessary. As a rule of thumb: too few variables lead to a superficial assessment, too many variables lead to a confused assessment, so try to stay within the ten variables provided plus a few of your own if necessary.

For each variable, please specify:
w: weight, importance given to each aspect (sum of all weights should be 100)
g: grade, rating given to each aspect (each grade is a value between 0 and 1)

and then use this formula to calculate your AmAre Index:
(AwareW * AwareG) + (AcceptingW * AcceptingG) + (MeaningfulW * MeaningfulG) + (MotivatedW * MotivatedG) + (ActiveW * ActiveG) + (AttentiveW * AttentiveG) + (ResilientW * ResilientG) + (RespectfulW * RespectfulG) + (EatingW * EatingG) + (ExercisingW * ExercisingG)

If you want to use a spreadsheet, where you can insert the values and see them automatically calculated, you can use: http://spsh.amareway.org/

You can download the Compendium of OECD well-being indicators from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/4/31/47917288.pdf