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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume V, Economics of Wellbeing by Cary L. Cooper, David McDaid

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12

Making Use of Evidence from Wellbeing Research in Policy and Practice

David McDaid

London School of Economics and Political Science, U.K.

I do think we have got to recognise, officially, that economic growth is a means to an end. If your goal in politics is to help make a better life for people—which mine is—and if you know, both in your gut and from a huge body of evidence that prosperity alone can't deliver a better life, then you've got to take practical steps to make sure government is properly focused on our quality of life as well as economic growth, and that is what we are trying to do.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, November 25, 2010

Introduction

The launch in 2010 of an initiative by British Prime Minister David Cameron to develop a measure of national wellbeing can be highlighted as one example of how wellbeing has risen to the top of the political agenda. As the quotation above highlights, the Prime Minister acknowledged that “prosperity alone can't deliver a better life” (Cameron, 2010). This launch came hot on the heels of the publication of the report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, an international academic body led by two Nobel-Prize-winning economists that had been set up by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, in 2008. It also concluded that wellbeing was about an awful lot more than just economic growth (Stiglitz, Sen, & Fitoussi, 2010). Initiatives in a number of other countries including the United ...

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