Development of indicators to measure social well-being

IP: Ada Ferrer

LLYC & Fundación BBK


The BBK Foundation, in collaboration with LLYC, wants to define and develop a set of indicators to measure social well-being. The main objective of this project is the development of these indicators, which needs to be based on a literature review of both, well-being and indicators. The research must include the following aspects: (i) the development of the indicators to measure social welfare and the corresponding questions to quantify its indicator, (ii) the writing of the guidelines on how to develop these indicators, (iii) a detailed explanation and motivation justifying the the inclusion of the chosen indicators, and (iv) the possibility to create some new indicators.

Macrohuman Indicators Report

Housing policies: public opinion and evidence

PI: Jordi Brandts

Observatori Social de ”la Caixa”


The phenomenon of unfounded beliefs about issues related to health or the natural environment is very present in our society. The consequences can be serious, such as
believing that vaccines can cause autism. The same applies for socio-economic issues and policies. Scientific communication aims to reduce the gap between experts and citizens.
Housing rent control is widely popular because it is intuitive and apparently effective at solving a major social problem. However, there is broad consensus among economic experts, based on empirical research, that rent control does not produce the desired results and that other ways of addressing affordable housing are better. In this project we will study how to communicate to citizens expert knowledge on policies that do not work to increase the availability of affordable housing and on more effective alternatives.

Does knowing the scientific evidence help to dispel widespread unfounded beliefs?



Revenue Mobilization and State Fragility

IP: Hannes Mueller


This project is a collaboration between the Fundació d’Economia Analítica (FEA) and Prof. Timothy Besley (LSE) as a part of a initiative conducted by the International Monetary Fund IMF on “Macroeconomic Policy in Fragile States”. The project stresses the role of state capacity as a factor and symptom of stability. It proposes the idea that the building of state capacity relies critically on voluntary compliance. Capacity building therefore needs to include elements that build institutional legitimacy and enforcement mechanisms that do not hamper voluntary compliance.

This project will produce a research paper which will become a chapter as a conference volume.

Universal Rights Group (URG)

“The Prevention of Human Rights Abuses: A Forecasting Approach”

IP: Hannes Mueller


This project is financed by the Universal Rights Groups (URG) de Ginebra. The URG is independent think tank dedicated exclusively to analysing and strengthening global human rights policy. The Project directed by Hannes Mueller uses a methodology developed for the World Bank and the topic model developed by Mueller and Rauh (2018, APSR) to develop benchmark estimates of the costs of prevention of human rights violations. The idea is to produce an objective measure of the trade-off between false positives (warnings of events that never happened) and human rights violations that occurred without an attempt of preventing them. The results of this analysis will go as background analysis into the report of the Universal Rights Group.

Report of the Universal Rights Group: The Prevention Council.
The Business Case for Placing Human Rights at the Heart of the UN’s Prevention Agenda



World Bank

“Do Distributional Tensions Matter for the Social Contract?”

IP: Ada Ferrer


The FEA participation in this World Bank project directed by Ada Ferrer has been two fold. First, advising the World Bank Chief Economist Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECACE) team on the flagship report Towards a New Social Contract: Taking on Distributional Tensions in Europe and Central Asia, especially on Chapter 4 Do Distributional Tensions Matter for the Social Contract? Our role has been to give feedback on the general research question, guidance on literature and data, technical feedback on empirical strategy and econometric issues, and review the drafts at the concept and final stages. The report focuses on the existing social contract (welfare state) in Europe and aims at analyzing its stability in view of the current social tensions. In Chapter 4 the report focusses on measures of subjective distributional tensions and empirically examines the gap between current income inequality and individuals’ perceptions of this inequality, and its relationship with their preferences for distribution of incomes and resources. Secondly, Ferrer-i-Carbonell has produced a paper which aims at understanding how individuals form their perceptions about the current level of inequality to then incorporate these perceptions into the existing models of demand for redistribution.

Grant Fundación BBVA 2016 a Investigadores y Creadores Culturales

“Political predictions using newspaper texts”.

IP: Hannes Mueller


The goal of the project is to use the changes in the way that journalists write about a country to predict the outbreak of civil wars and armed conflicts a year before they occur. In order to achieve this, a new method has been used to summarize automatically the text of the newspapers and this technique has been applied to a new news source, the BBC Monitor, which can provide us with more than 3 million newspaper articles. The results of this project have been presented in two Workshops, on May 15-16, 2017 and on December 17, 2017 and will also soon be presented in a working paper.

Project presentation