Quantifying happy: Gus O’Donnell gives lecture on well-being policy

Quantifying happy: Gus O’Donnell gives lecture on well-being policy

Gus O’Donnell, Chairman of Frontier (Europe), and Professor Andrew Oswald today gave a lecture at the University of Warwick on measuring well-being. The lecture focused on the practical challenges government may face in implementing a ‘well-being policy’.

Although Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been the overall measure of economic performance for many years, it may not be a particularly suitable measure of human welfare. Gus said: “As a society evolves, it is vital to allow the concept of success also to evolve. GDP is no longer an adequate measure.”

Currently, the Office of National Statistics asks four questions on well-being in the Annual Population Survey, covering ‘happiness’, ‘satisfaction’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘worthwhileness’. However, there has been no attempt so far to turn this data into any objective measure of well-being. In a new paper, “National Well-being Policy and a Weighted Approach to Human Feelings”, to be published later this year, Gus and Andrew suggest a weighting method to calculate changes in society’s well-being. The authors propose a survey-based approach, asking citizens how much weight they think society should put on each of the indicators.

Frontier (Europe) advises both public and private organisations on policy issues relating to mental health and well-being.

For more information, please contact Goran Serdarevic on [email protected], or call +44 (0)20 7031 7000.

 

National Well-being Policy and a Weighted Approach to Human Feelings