What matters most to people around the world?

Grantham Supervisor Diana Maynard recently co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Technological Forecasting & Social Change exploring the different opinions of people around the world about societal issues such as the environment, housing and life satisfaction.

The work was produced during the month-long research visit of Economics PhD student Giuliano Resce from the University of Roma Tre to her team in Sheffield, as part of the EU SoBigData Transnational Access Programme. During this visit Giulano and Diana worked on analysing millions of public tweets in 7 different languages, in order to understand the different societal priorities of people in different countries of the OECD.

Better Life Index topics frequency in Twitter (percentage).

The results of this analysis enabled them to redesign Composite Indices for the OECD’s Better Life Index, a measure of well-being which gives a detailed overview of the social, economic and environmental performances of different countries. In turn, this redesign helps to better reflect the actual needs of the people. The idea is that the aggregate of millions of tweets may provide a representation of the different priorities among the eleven topics of the Better Life Index.

By combining topic performances and related Twitter trends, they produced new evidence about the relationship between people’s priorities and policy makers’ activity in the BLI framework.

You can read the full paper here