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RuWell – Rural well-being in transition: multidimensional drivers and effects on (im)mobility

Research domain:
Livelihoods in rural areas

Project duration:
01.04.2022 - 31.03.2027

Europe’s rural areas are threatened by a vicious cycle: as populations decrease, the well-being of those who stay back also declines, which further fuels outmigration. The junior research group led by Dr Antje Jantsch is investigating these relationships with a focus on the dimension of place attachment, which has received little attention in this context so far. An innovative measurement of well-being will be achieved by further developing and adapting a multidimensional well-being index (MWI) that was recently developed at the University of Oxford.

Theoretically anchored in utility theory, the project will rely on a mixed-method approach to capture and triangulate the complex and multidimensional drivers of well-being. It will feature a qualitative analysis of place attachment within the realm of quality of life dimensions, and a quantitative investigation of the relationship between the MWI and (im)mobility. The empirical focus will be on regions affected by depopulation and decline in rural Germany and Southeast Europe. The relationship between well-being, place attachment, and (im)mobility will then be explored using regression models and structural equation modeling.


  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Wunder, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Germany (MLU), Germany Website
  • Prof. Dr. Gertrud Buchenrieder, Universität der Bundeswehr, Munich, Germany Website
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation (EHERO), Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands Website
  • Prof. Dr. Steven Weldon, Simon Fraser University, Canada Website
  • Prof. Assoc. Dr. Drini Imami, Agricultural University of Tirana, Albania Website
  • Prof. Assoc. Dr. Edvin Zhllima, Agricultural University of Tirana, Albania Website
  • Dr. Iliriana Miftari, University of Prishtina, Kosovo