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Wellbeing and the Region

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posted on 2023-10-25, 08:41 authored by Philip MorrisonPhilip Morrison
This chapter updates and extends Chap. 15 “The Measurement of Regional Growth and Wellbeing” as it appeared in the 2014 handbook. The 6 years separating the two chapters have seen an expansion of the “wellbeing” field into many new areas of intellectual inquiry, policy, and practice. Two conceptual frameworks hold considerable promise when it comes to understanding the spatial properties of the wellbeing function. The first framework is that introduced by development economist Amartya Sen and comprises the concepts of “capabilities” and “functionings.” The second framework draws on the work of behavioral psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner who had long advanced an ecology of human development in which economic and social contexts - from the home through to the global scale - condition the wellbeing of individuals as they grow. These two frameworks are rarely, if ever, considered together but have the potential to open up new ways in which the regional scientist can more fully understand the way space, place, and location condition wellbeing. Both the Sen and Bronfenbrenner conceptualizations remain latent in the multilevel model - a suite of statistical tools used to explore contextual effects at multiple scales. Although increasingly applied within regional science, these multilevel modeling tools have often lacked the theoretical framework necessary to draw substantive meaning. Four areas of current research are used to illustrate this relatively new area of regional science: the differential wellbeing associated with urban settlement; the relationship between average wellbeing and wellbeing inequality; the relationships between migration and wellbeing; and the temporal-spatial dynamics of wellbeing. Each area addresses context effects, that is, the influence of living in different economic, social, and cultural environments on people’s wellbeing. What is new and significant about current work in these areas is the attention now being paid to subjective wellbeing as a complement to the more traditional objective indicators such as income at the level of the individual and average income (GDP/capita) at the level of the region and country.


Preferred citation

Morrison, P. S. (2021). Wellbeing and the Region. Handbook of Regional Science: Second and Extended Edition: With 238 Figures and 78 Tables (pp. 779-798). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Book title

Handbook of Regional Science: Second and Extended Edition: With 238 Figures and 78 Tables


Springer Berlin Heidelberg





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