Multidimensional Well-Being at the Top: Evidence for Germany


  • Submitted May 2012.

  • Andreas Peichl is grateful for financial support from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The authors thank the editors and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.


This paper employs a multidimensional approach for the measurement of well-being at the top of the distribution using German SOEP micro data. Besides income as the traditional indicator for material well-being, we include health as a proxy for non-material quality of life and self-reported satisfaction with life as dimensions. We find that one-third of the German population are well off in at least one dimension but only 1 per cent in all three dimensions simultaneously. While the distribution of income has become more concentrated at the top, measures of multidimensional well-being at the top have decreased slightly over time. Moreover, health and life satisfaction are important drivers of multidimensional richness, which has important policy implications.