Tag Archives: social policies

A Cross-Country Assessment of Well-Being and Quality of Life in the Euromed Region: Models and Measurements

The broad objective of this research is to deliver insights into the process through which income and consumption explain Subjective Well-Being (SWB). Extant studies on how individual economic conditions influence SWB mainly focus on the role of income as a driver of SWB. These studies show income to be a modest correlate of SWB. In the present research we see income as a means that enables consumption. The view is that consumption enables people to satisfy their needs, which in turn explain SWB. Hence, while some studies suggest that policy makers may act on people’s income to influence SWB, the present study shifts the focus to consumption and need satisfaction as antecedents of SWB, which has important theoretical and practical implications.

In line with consumption theories, we study consumption in terms of individually perceived consumption deprivation. We distinguish three types of consumption deprivation: functional (deprivation of food, water, shelter, etc.), leisure (deprivation of goods and services that provide pleasurable experiences) and status (deprivation of goods linked to self-enhancement). Drawing on Maslow’s need hierarchy theory and Deci and Ryan’s psychological needs theory, we distinguish different types of needs. In particular, we differentiate lower-order needs related to biological sustenance and safety (basic needs) from higher-order needs related to social belongingness (social needs), self-esteem (esteem needs), and self-actualization (actualization needs). Hence, we predict that SWB is driven by consumption, but only to the extent that consumption leads to needs fulfillment (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Conceptual Model Fig inFEm3414-sumary

The model test relies on data collected in 2012 from representative samples in four countries: Tunisia, Morocco, France, and Benin. The country comparison of consumption deprivation reveals that people in France feel the least deprived (in all three categories of goods), followed by Tunisia, Morocco, and Benin. The measures show good psychometric properties and appropriate levels of cross-cultural measurement invariance, thus enabling cross-cultural comparisons.

Our empirical analyses demonstrate that consumption is an important determinant of SWB, but only through the mediating effect of needs satisfaction. In particular, the empirical results show that the direct effect of consumption on SWB disappears when needs satisfaction is introduced into the model, suggesting that the relationship between consumption and SWB is fully mediated by needs satisfaction. This result consistently holds on the aggregate level (four countries), at the level of each individual country (France, Tunisia, Morocco, Benin), as well as for different income groups. Consequently, policy makers who are concerned with SWB should focus on need satisfaction and act upon its antecedents, one of which is consumption.

Our results show that SWB is essentially determined by the satisfaction of basic needs (food, shelter, and safety) and esteem needs (respect, status, and autonomy). Satisfaction of actualization needs contributes to SWB to a much lesser extent. Surprisingly, satisfaction of social needs does not contribute to SWB at all. Hence, the key drivers of SWB on which policy makers should focus are satisfaction of basic and esteem needs.

The different consumption types act differently on needs satisfaction. While some differences emerge between the four countries and income groups, it appears that consumption deprivation of basic goods determines essentially basic need satisfaction; consumption deprivation of leisure goods determines basic and particularly esteem need satisfaction; consumption deprivation of status goods is essentially related to esteem need satisfaction.

Governments are concerned with promoting the welfare of their people and how to best plan and adjust policy to take care of what citizens need and want. Therefore, policy makers require a solid empirical information base for action. Policy makers have various means to stimulate consumption, such as income tax policies, subsidized programs, trade regulations or communication policies. Community governments can assess the extent to which their services are effective in serving the needs of community residents. These include services for fire fighting, ambulances, libraries, as well as community-related services such as alcohol/drug abuse services, crisis intervention services, family planning services, and many others that may effectively contribute to enhance different types of need satisfaction (Sirgy et al., 1995). The measures and models developed in this research may be used as a diagnostic tool to periodically assess the effectiveness of such services. Need satisfaction fulfillment can also be used to conduct program evaluations at regional as well as at national levels. The need fulfillment approach is useful in guiding the formulation of public policy such that industry and public policy officials in various institutional sectors (nursing, healthcare, transportation, etc.) may draw on the needs fulfillment approach to formulate policies and concrete action plans. They may as well encourage the business sector to develop appropriate goods and services that meet specific needs in an attempt to enhance SWB and quality of life.

2008/2009 Euromed Report: Mediterranean Partner Countries Facing the Crisis

Updated on 5/01/10

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Femise Report on Euromed Partnership 2008/2009

Femise has released its latest report on the Euromediterranean Partnership and the situation of the Mediterranean countries. The subject of this year’s report is to provide information about how the crisis is affecting the Mediterranean Countries.

To address these issues, this report will assess in a first part, the crisis from a general perspective, following three chapters: (i) The first chapter aims to determine how the international crisis is going to affect the Mediterranean countries by focusing on the unprecedented aspects of the processes; (ii) The second chapter will detail the system of interdependence linking the Mediterranean countries with the rest of the world, especially Europe via trade of goods and services, direct investment and transfers; (iii) The third chapter is devoted to give an overview of the current social policies set up in the Mediterranean countries, which will play a decisive role in a context where the MPC population is already struggling with unemployment and under-employment.

In the second part, the report addresses  the current situation of the south Mediterranean economies concerned, country by country.

Download the English version of the Report (210 pages – 5 Mo)

Table of Contents

An inescapable crisis
Part one – General overview: MPCs faced with the world crisis
Chapter I: The international crisis and its repercussions in MPCs
I. Tools for understanding an unprecedented crisis
II. The crisis in MPCs: the financial impact is today marginal but the real impact poses more of a threat
III. A much more dangerous crisis in the real sphere
IV. A macroeconomic balance under tight pressure
V. The beginnings of answers in a context of uncertainties
Chapter II. An essential requirement: consolidation of the regional interdependence system
I. Une ouverture qui s’est accélérée mais avec des fragilités
1. Greater opening to world trade of goods ending in a recurrent deficit
2. Commercial positions in the trade of goods on an underlying downward trend
3. Deterioration accelerated by the crisis and affecting new specialisations
4. Substantial international engagement in services
5. Lessons and stakes of a globalisation process begun 20 years ago
II. Regional allegiance: what dynamics and what protection?
1. A multiplication of regional level trade agreements and a growing de facto
commitment towards the rest of the world
2. The weakness of intra MPC trade is a sign of large development potential
3. A sizeable evolution in sectoral specialisations
4. Understanding the position of MPCs on external markets
5. Specialisation and contribution to the trade balance
6. The enhancement of positions on external markets in terms of specialisations
III. Regional orientation of FDI
1. The acceleration of FDI in the second half of the 2000s
2. A dependence on European and Gulf State flows
3. The economic consequences of this flow of direct investment
4. A post-crisis which requires more attractiveness from the MPCs
5. Conclusions
Chapter III. Social cover in the Mediterranean
I. The social services offer in the MPCs
1. Inventory of social protection systems in the Mediterranean
2. Operating principles: structural limits and questions linked to the context of the crisis
II. The results obtained by the current systems of protection
1. Considerable progress of the healthcare state, but still a marked gap with Europe
2. Varied effectiveness of social policies in the reduction of poverty
3. Evolution of inequalities
III. Leads for recommendations for social policies in a context of crisis
1. Reform of the health sector
2. The strengthening of Social Protection
3. Promote employment and participation in the formal job market and fight unemployment
4. The reduction or elimination of price subsidies and the adoption of alternative regimes
5. The need to find an alternative methodology for measuring well-being
6. The need for pluriannual budgetary programming for optimal visibility of strategic choices
IV. In conclusion
Part two – Detailed situation in MPCs : country sheets