A short animated video exploring how research by CEP (The Centre for Economic Performance at LSE University), directed by Lord Richard Layard, has contributed to establishing happiness as a desirable and measurable goal of public policy in the UK and worldwide.
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Glen Crust gives an engaging presentation which proposes that university might be a tool you can use more effectively when you know how it works. University life enables you to do what you love with like-minded and motivated friends, and can fulfil many aspects of wellbeing. Glen looks at how a student experience that is happy, connected, satisfying and worthwhile can be a road to fulfilling, worthwhile employment.
This report describes the outcomes of a research study conducted jointly by The Children’s Society and NEF (New Economics Foundation) which explores activities that children can do themselves that might be linked to increased feelings of well-being. The Children’s Society, which has been involved in a child-centred well-being research programme since 2005, was interested to explore the extent to which NEF's 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' framework might also be relevant to children. The research involved two components: 1. A survey of 1500 children aged 10 to 15 which asked about time spent on various activities and about levels of subjective well-being 2. Eleven focus groups with around 90 children aged eight to 15 which explored their ideas about various activities which might promote their well-being.
Chaired by former minister for mental health, Paul Burstow MP, the CentreForum Mental Health Commission concludes its 12 month study on the state of wellbeing in England by identifying five key priorities between now and 2020. The Commission's final report titled 'The pursuit of happiness' calls on policymakers to: • Establish the mental wellbeing of the nation or the “pursuit of happiness” as a clear and measurable goal of government. • Roll out a National Wellbeing Programme to promote mutual support, self-care and recovery, and reduce the crippling stigma that too often goes hand in hand with mental ill health. • Prioritise investment in the mental health of children and young people right from conception. • Make places of work mental health friendly with government leading the way as an employer. • Better equip primary care to identify and treat mental health problems, closing the treatment gap that leaves one in four of the adult population needlessly suffering from depression and anxiety and 1-2% experiencing a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia. The report also calls for parity of funding for mental health which currently receives 13% of NHS spend in England but accounts for 23% of demand. It is estimated that £13 billion is overspent every year on dealing with the physical health consequences of this unmet need.
Nic Marks thinks quality of life is measurable. Pioneer in the field of well-being research, he creates statistical methods to measure happiness, analyzing and interpreting the evidence so that it can be applied to such policy fields as education, sustainable development, healthcare, and economics. Founder of the Centre for Well-Being, an independent think tank at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), in London, Marks is particularly keen to promote a balance between sustainable development and quality of life. To investigate this, he devised the Happy Planet Index, a global index of human well-being and environ- mental impact. Ragnhild Bang Nes is a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Oslo) and is focused on finding out the role of the environment regarding our personal happiness and general well-being.
The commissioned paper from Alex Evans and Jules Evans of the NYU Center on International Cooperation, New York and Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London is now available. The paper begins by providing a brief overview of resource scarcity issues in the four areas of food, water, land and energy, in each case focusing primarily on the global level and setting out the basic supply and demand drivers involved.
The Good Childhood Report 2014 contains new findings from the ground breaking, nine-year programme of research on children’s well-being, involving around 50,000 children. This work is carried out in collaboration with the University of York and has become the most extensive national research programme on children’s subjective well-being in the world. The objective of each report is to focus on children’s subjective well-being, drawing on the most recent evidence available for the UK, plus some comparative findings from other countries.
This second edition of How’s Life? provides an update on the most important aspects that shape people’s lives and well-being: income, jobs, housing, health, work-life balance, education, social connections, civic engagement and governance, environment, personal security and subjective well-being.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) commissioned researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) to undertake analysis of Understanding Society data to develop the evidence base on the wellbeing impacts of cultural engagement and sport participation. This work gives us new evidence of the link between our policies and the social impacts of engagement in both sport and culture.
Being able to measure people’s quality of life is fundamental when assessing the progress of societies. There is now widespread acknowledgement that measuring subjective well-being is an essential part of measuring quality of life alongside other social and economic dimensions. As a first step to improving the measures of quality of life, the OECD has produced Guidelines which provide advice on the collection and use of measures of subjective well-being. These Guidelines have been produced as part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, a pioneering project launched in 2011, with the objective to measure society’s progress across eleven domains of well-being, ranging from jobs, health and housing, through to civic engagement and the environment. These Guidelines represent the first attempt to provide international recommendations on collecting, publishing, and analysing subjective well-being data. They provide guidance on collecting information on people's evaluations and experiences of life, as well as on collecting "eudaimonic" measures of psychological well-being. The Guidelines also outline why measures of subjective well-being are relevant for monitoring and policy making, and why national statistical agencies have a critical role to play in enhancing the usefulness of existing measures. They identify the best approaches for measuring, in a reliable and consistent way, the various dimensions of subjective well-being, and provide guidance for reporting on such measures. The Guidelines also include a number of prototype survey modules on subjective well-being that national and international agencies can use in their surveys.
As part of a year-long commission, the 'Wellbeing and Policy' report seeks to illustrate the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis and provides original and authoritative guidance on the implications for public policy. It is widely agreed that GDP is an important yet insufficient measure of national success. In an attempt to broaden the scope for public policy analysis, a lot of progress has been made on developing the measurement of individual wellbeing, but a lot remains to be done on how best to apply these data to policymaking. The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy works to fill this gap and explore how wellbeing analysis can be usefully applied to policy.
The World Migration Report 2013: Migrant Well-being and Development - the seventh report in IOM’s World Migration Report (WMR) series - focuses on the migrant, exploring the positive and negative effects of migration on individual well-being. Many reports linking migration and development concentrate on the broad socioeconomic consequences of migratory processes, and the impact of migration on the lives of individuals can easily be overlooked. In contrast, the WMR 2013 focuses on migrants as persons, exploring how migration affects quality of life and human development across a broad range of dimensions. The World Migration Report 2013 is published amidst a growing debate on how the benefits of migration can best be harnessed for development. Despite progress following the first UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) in 2006, migration remains inadequately integrated into development frameworks at national and local levels, and public perceptions of migrants and migration are often very negative. The World Migration Report 2013 contributes to the global debate on migration and development in three ways: By examining the impact of migration on individual well-being, the report goes beyond traditional analyses focusing on economic development and, in particular, on the impact of remittances (money that migrants send home). In contrast, by exploring how migration affects human development, the report presents a more holistic picture of development. The report draws upon the findings of a unique source of data – the Gallup World Poll, conducted in more than 150 countries – allowing for an assessment of the well-being of migrants worldwide for the first time. The report looks at how migration outcomes differ depending on the origin and destination of migrants. Traditionally, research has focused on those migrating from lower income countries to more affluent ones; this report expands the analysis, considering movements along four migration pathways and their implications for development: i.e. migration from the South to North, between countries of the South or between countries of the North, as well as movements from the North to the South.
This is a story about changing the world by what is measured – counting what matters. It has a cast of characters: Socrates and Aristotle; Jeremy Bentham and Thomas Jefferson; Simon Kuznets and Robert F. Kennedy; Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron; Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; Martin Seligman and Daniel Gilbert; His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan, and the City of Santa Monica – among a cast of millions including you and me. This story has a central hero – the wellbeing index – and this whitepaper will examine its past, present, and future in an exploration of the what, why, and how of community wellbeing: - What is wellbeing and how is wellbeing defined at the community level? - Why does measuring and prioritizing wellbeing matter and how does it relate to public policy? - How is wellbeing measured at the community level?
This paper makes a number of fundamental proposals to reconsider economics by putting human wellbeing at the centre. It emerges from a pluralist perspective in economics and the ontological, conceptual, axiomatic and methodological propositions that are made lead to the construction of what we call an inclusive economy matrix (IEM). In particular, the paper draws on heterodox economics to redefine the scope of economics, economic agency, rational behaviour and put emphasis on wellbeing rather than welfare. Furthermore, from the acknowledgement of human wellbeing as a three-dimensional concept, the economic aggregation problem is reconsidered and the methodological implications discussed. The IEM is proposed as a comprehensive and robust analytical framework that gives space to bring social equity and sustainable development considerations forward as a priori concerns for economic development. As such, the IEM can serve as a point of departure for formulating new research questions, exploring new relationships between human wellbeing and economic development, and building economic models that bring us closer to people’s realities on the ground.
Recently, the debate on new measures of wellbeing reached a wide audience especially thanks to the big media’s “ballyhoo”. That debate, very often accompanied by Robert Kennedy’s word (March 18, 1968, speech at Kansas University) has been urged also thanks to many prestigious initiatives, like the commission appointed by French President in 2008 and now known through the chairs’ names (Stiglitz, Sen e Fitoussi). What is never said is that since many years, many researchers all over the world are continuously working on defining concepts and measures of wellbeing. Looking at this movement’s outputs allows us to realize that what is reasserted by the last initiatives can be considered, in many respects, neither really original nor avant-garde (Maggino & Ruviglioni, 2010). In many cases, the debate has been trivialized to the simple concern “what indicator can replace GDP?” As we will see, actually defining what a good society is, and consequently its observation and monitoring, should take into account two important and interrelated concepts: complexity and limit. Concepts of good society: classification attempts. During the history of political philosophy, since Aristotle, the conceptual approaches trying to define what is good society were and are many. It is quite impossible to examine all those definitions and this work has no intention to do that exhaustively. This work aims at providing anyone with interpretative instruments allowing us to orient ourselves among all the emerging proposals and to distinguish between serious and propagandistic ones.
Which groups in our society are flourishing? Are there inequalities, and if so, what are they and when in the life course do they emerge? Wellbeing matters. For a long time social research and policy have been focused on counting negative outcomes and deficits, rather than measuring and developing positive assets. Not only is a high level o wellbeing a positive end in itself, it has also been found to predict living longer and living without disability. This report focuses on factors that are amenable to policy intervention. We know that genes and very early childhood experiences are critical to wellbeing in later life. However, policy makers need to know what factors to prioritise now, to help people function well and fell good throughout their lives.
This report assesses the impact of the crisis on the subjective well-being of Europeans. In 2011, GDP per capita in 22 out of the then 27 EU Member States was below 2008 levels, and unemployment rates were higher in 25 out of the 27. These indicators demonstrate worrying trends, but the report goes deeper, trying to answer various questions: What is the real impact on people’s lives? Who has been hit hardest? Where have there been positive wellbeing patterns? What explains the variation in well-being across Europe? How can policy increase or stem the fall in well-being in the future? It concludes that the crisis may not be affecting everyone’s well-being equally, nor all aspects of well-being. Well-being has fallen in many EU countries, remaining highest in northern countries. However, falls in wellbeing in many western EU countries have been matched by increases in eastern countries. Population groups with low well-being include those limited by disability or illness and unemployed people.
The analysis in this report provides an initial investigation into some of the differences between four overall monitoring questions introduced into ONS surveys from April 2011. The questions are analysed by key characteristics including those relating to what people told ONS was important in the Measuring National Well-being ‘National Debate’. It provides potential users of subjective well-being estimates from the large scale Integrated Household Survey (IHS), due for publication in July 2012, with an understanding of the way these questions are likely to perform. It also shows how the additional subjective well-being questions that were asked over this period compare with one another and to the four overall monitoring questions. Methodological testing and development continues and ONS wants to involve users at an early stage to allow feedback; not only on what these data show but also on how the results have been presented.