“An individual’s level of personal well-being is strongly related to the level of wealth of the household in which they live”

“Relationship between Wealth, Income and Personal Well-being, July 2011 to June 2012”

This article uses data from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) for July 2011 to June 2012
which, for the first time, included measures of personal well-being. It describes the results of
regression analysis considering the relationships between the total wealth or total income of
the households in which individuals live and their personal well-being. Regression analysis is
a statistical technique which was used to analyse variation in well-being outcomes by specific
characteristics and circumstances of individuals while holding all other characteristics equal.
This allows for a better understanding of what matters most to an individual’s personal well-being
compared to analysis when different factors are considered separately.
Main points
• An individual’s level of personal well-being is strongly related to the level of wealth of the
household in which they live. Life satisfaction, sense of worth and happiness are higher, and
anxiety less, as the level of household wealth increases.
• The levels of household income are less strongly related, with relationships found only with life
satisfaction and sense of worth.
• The net financial wealth of the household appears to be the type of wealth most strongly
associated with personal well-being. In particular, life satisfaction will be higher in households
with greater net financial wealth.
• Levels of property wealth and private pension wealth were not found to be related levels of
personal well-being.


Why and where early retirees move? A post-mining town case study (my abstract for the next European Sociological Association conference in Prague)

Problem and research question Mining industries have played a crucial part in the European history. Starting in the 19th century, the extraction of coal and lignite provided the basis for the industrialization of many European regions (Wirth et al, 2012). Due to exhaustion of resources or technical and market conditions changes, mining industry has been retreating since 1960s in central Europe and since 1990s in Eastern and Southern Europe. In the particular case of Spain and according to a mining institution attached to the Ministry of Industry, in 2012 there were 79 mining municipalities “very affected” by mining restructuring. In order to avoid the “socioeconomic drama” (Baeten et al, 1999) that usually accompanied this process, these municipalities have been benefited from revitalization policies from public institutions, such as early retirement plans, employment incentives and grants to attract investors, among other measures. This papers aims to explore the patterns of residential mobility among early retirees mining workers in one of these Spanish regions. Specifically, the municipality of As Pontes de García Rodríguez, located in the Autonomous Community of Galicia. There, the largest opencast coalmine in Spain and its power plant was located. Its construction and operation as of 1979 and the associated influx of newcomers workers would definitely change a place that by that time was not far from many others villages that form the most genuine rural Galicia. In hardly two decades, this boom scenario will soon give way to a deep shrinkage process. The closure of the adjacent opencast coalmine, its conversion into an artificial lake, as well as the massive early retirement plan implemented in the last decades, finally defined its particular idiosyncrasies up to date. The mining industry workforce was nearly 2,000 employees in 1998. It is estimated that the early retirement plan implemented between 1998 and 2012 meant the withdrawal from the labour market of around 1.855 employees between 47 and 64 years old. How many and where early retirees moved? What variables better explain such decision? This paper aims to answer these questions, while also reflecting about revitalization policies in European post-mining regions. Methodology A self-administrated postal questionnaire survey has been conducted. The relatively high response rate (18%) has allowed obtaining a representative sample of 327 cases to be analysed by mean statistic software. With a confidence interval of 95% and p=q=50% (hypothesis of the maximum possible variation), the maximum sample error is ± 4.9% (assuming the number of early-retirees [1855] as the total population. The questionnaire includes opinion (perception of the social integration in the mining community during their time as employees, Retirement Satisfaction Inventory variables (F. J. Floyd et al, 1992), among others), behavioural (social capital related questions, medical treatment for anxiety, current municipality of residence and others) and attribute variable (birthplace and origin related questions and other socio-demographic variables). Different statistical association test according to variable nature (mainly Chi square, Cramer´s V and regression coefficient) were applied in order to identify statistically significant relationships between the different variables. Results Approximately 75% of respondents had resided in the town of As Pontes during most of the time they were employed at the mine, 10% would had done it only at specific times and 14% never, i.e., their place of residence was other than the workplace. Of those who resided most of the time in As Pontes, 28% decided to emigrate after retirement. This decision does not appear to have any statistically significant relationship with most of the variables. Only two variables seem to be associated. First and foremost, the origin. The percentage of former employees who decided to emigrate after retiring is much higher among newcomers from other municipalities, and above all, among those coming from outside the Autonomous Community of Galicia. Here the percentage increases to 48%, against the 12% of natives residents.  However, the destination is not precisely the place of origin. In most of the cases, the respondents reside in a third place within Autonomous Community of Galicia. Thus, 55% do it in nearby urban or coastal areas, especially the city of A Coruña and its metropolitan area. And this is even clearer among those coming from other Autonomous Communities. On the other hand, there is a striking moderate but significant association between the residence and such variable as being or having been under anxiety or depression medical treatment. It is more likely among people who no longer reside in As Pontes. Specifically, 22% of those who have left As Pontes were under treatment in comparison to 10% of the total sample and the 15% of the total Spanish population, according to experts. Conclusions Despite no problem of social integration was identified during the time living in the mining community, evidence suggests that the lower attachment to the community explain the higher tendency to emigrate after retirement among newcomers miners. The fact that the main destination was not the place of origin but a third place suggests that the decision making process may be based on such factors as perception of more urban areas as provider of greater standard of living and services availability. This fact, however, could explain greater problems in the post-retirement adaptation process, judging by the worse health status identified among those who left the community.  The improvement of local services, and especially for retired population, must be seen as an important factor of economic revitalization in post mining regions. The capacity to keep and even attract retirees with usually high level of purchase may reactivate the local economy; especially when other revitalization measures such as tax breaking and grants to attract investors does not seem to be giving the expected results.

Secondary data source for well-being related indexes

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I find great this OECD statistic source on well-being across countries and regions. Here is a brief description of the whole project:

“There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics – This Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.”

World Bank App for development-related data on mobile platforms

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The “Spatial Agent” Mobile App has been developed to take advantage of new capabilities to visualize this growing range of spatial and temporal development-related data on mobile platforms. The App demonstrates a simple but extremely powerful approach to visualize a range of public-domain spatial datasets through interactive maps and charts to allow for data visualization at different scales and ranges. The approach literally puts the globe in the users hands and allows one to access a burgeoning group of public-domain multi-sectoral datasets (including at global, regional, and national levels) being developed for use by various development-related institutions and governments across the world. So whether you are interested in water resources or climate change, disaster management or general development, this is a must-have App for you! The simplicity of use and wealth of information is sure to appeal to you – whether you are a student, development professional, or a Minister!    Read more


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Working rights in Poland

The Niezalezny Samorzadny Zwiazek Zawodowy “Solidarnosc” (NSZZ SOLIDARNOSC) reported the dismissal of a shop steward at ADO factory located in the special economic zone of Legnica in March 2013 for having hung a union flag at the factory’s gate. The Polish National Forest company also sent a letter to a Solidarnosc to prohibit displaying flags during protests.

There have been numerous reports on discriminatory dismissal of trade unionists. In December 2013, Adam Guzy was dismissed from Fakos Ltd due to his trade union activities. A complaint asking for reinstatement and compensation has been filed with the courts. Trade unionist Robert Kluga who works for CCP “PREMA” SA in Kielce was dismissed during the negotiations of a collective agreement in March 2014 with a view to undermine the collective bargaining process. LG Electronics  Wroclaw targeted union members in the company in order to crush the existence of the union by not renewing employment contracts of union activists and leaders. In November 2013, Leszek Rudzinski, a shop steward at Lubelskich Liniach Autobusowych and a union chairman, was dismissed during a collective dispute. Both the National Labour Inspection and the Court have deemed the dismissal unlawful, and M. Rudzinski has been reinstated and compensated.

Source: International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global rights index: the world’s worst countries for workers.

The world’s worst countries for workers

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Interesting and high quality report on global rights index. An example of high quality and global secondary data source. It offers a list of countries rating from 1 to 5+ (pp. 15), where 5+ means “No guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law” and 1 “Irregular Violations of Rights”.

I also like the mixed methods approach applied, as well as the sophisticate development of indicators to measure the violation of working rights (pp. 29-35). You can also see in the first pages examples of the worst countries, and a a but consistent evaluation of working rights violation in many other countries of Asia, America, Africa and Europe.

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Conference: Methods for Longitudinal Data Analysis in the Social Sciences

Monday 8 September 2014, 10:00 – 18:00
Followed by drinks reception and buffet dinner

Conference venue: New Theatre, East Building, Houghton Street, LSE campus

*** Limited additional places are now available to attend this conference. Please email Ian Marshall if you would like to reserve a place. ***

These are unprecedented times for the social sciences in terms of the availability of high-quality longitudinal data. The richness of these data are enabling researchers to broaden their horizons and contemplate addressing research questions of increasing complexity, and develop models of increasing sophistication to answer these questions.  In this event, we bring together researchers from social statistics, biostatistics and economics to talk about some of the latest developments in this area.  The speakers will talk on a range of subjects, from innovative ways of collecting longitudinal data to dealing with its most difficult problems, from modelling growth and over-dispersion to estimating causal effects.

This event is sponsored by the LEMMA node of the ESRC National Centre of Research Methods, and is organised by Fiona Steele (LSE) and Paul Clarke (University of Essex).


Paul Clarke (University of Essex)
Dynamic panel-data modelling with structural nested mean models

Marcel Das (CentERdata / Tilburg University)
Innovation in online longitudinal data collection for scientific research

Bianca De Stavola (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
Mediation and life course epidemiology: Challenges and examples

Harvey Goldstein (University of Bristol)
Modelling repeated measures growth data by aligning significant growth events and modelling changes in within-individual variability over time

Geert Molenberghs (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
A flexible modelling framework for over-dispersed, hierarchical data of a joint nature

Anders Skrondal (Norwegian Institute of Public Health)
Protective estimation of panel models when data are not missing at random

Tom Snijders (University of Oxford, University of Groningen)
Longitudinal methods for using panel data of networks and behaviour to assess peer influence

Please view abstracts of the talks HERE