Measuring well-being and sustainability: irreconcilably opposed or inevitably linked?
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This thesis is an inquiry into the complexity of well-being measurement, especially when attempting to incorporate sustainability. To analyze the dynamics between these two contested concepts in social sciences, I compare three measures of (sustainable) well-being: the Brede Welvaartsindicator, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Monitor Brede Welvaart. The three steps of measurement developed by Cartwright and Runhardt (2014) guide the analysis, which is performed through desk research, semi-structured interviews and a newly developed typology of well-being indicators. The analysis shows that each of the current measures of (sustainable) well-being is imperfect. Using this, I identify four fundamental problems which any researcher in well-being measurement must relate to. Finally, I translate the lessons learned into practical recommendations for the improvement of the Brede Welvaartsindicator. Most importantly, I argue that this measure would benefit from the inclusion of capital stock indicators to represent the sustainability of current well-being in relation to future generations.