What matters most to people around the world? Retrieving Better Life Index priorities on Twitter

Better Life Index (BLI), the measure of well-being proposed by the OECD, contains many metrics, which enable it to include a detailed overview of the social, economic, and environmental performances of different countries. However, this also increases the difficulty in evaluating the big picture. In order to overcome this, many composite BLI procedures have been proposed, but none of them takes into account societal priorities in the aggregation. One of the reasons for this is that at the moment there is no representative survey about the relative priorities of the BLI topics for each country. Using these priorities could help to design Composite Indices that better reflect the needs of the people. The largest collection of information about society is found in social media such as Twitter. This paper proposes a composite BLI based on the weighted average of the national performances in each dimension of the BLI, using the relative importance that the topics have on Twitter as weights. The idea is that the aggregate of millions of tweets may provide a representation of the priorities (the relative appreciations) among the eleven topics of the BLI, both at a general level and at a country-specific level. By combining topic performances and related Twitter trends, we produce new evidences about the relations between people's priorities and policy makers' activity in the BLI framework.

This article is an outcome of the Transnational Access (TNA) visit of the author in GATE-Sheffield as part of the SoBigData R.I. project.

I'm grateful to SoBigData Transnational Access for this opportunity and I want to thank Kalina Bontcheva, Diana Maynard, and the whole GATE research team in the University of Sheffield very much for their great support in my research. 

Giuliano Resce

Article reference: TFS19356
Journal title: Technological Forecasting & Social Change
Corresponding author: Dr Giuliano Resce
First author: Dr Giuliano Resce
Online publication complete: 13-JUL-2018
DOI information: 10.1016/j.techfore.2018.06.044

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