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How can the measurement of wellbeing be improved and what are the implications for policy?

How can the measurement of wellbeing be improved and what are the implications for policy?

with Andrew Oswald and Daniel Sgroi

Theme 3 concerns two important and inter-related concepts: subjective wellbeing ("happiness") and behaviour.

Wellbeing has become an increasingly important target for governments (and even central bankers) putting happiness on the table as a viable complement to income when measuring standards of living. However we have much to understand about how to measure wellbeing; what drives it and how it interacts with other important concepts in working life such as productivity. Improving our understanding of wellbeing is central to Theme 3’s research agenda.

Theme 3 is also about behaviour and how this links to both wellbeing and poverty. There is a growing understanding that experiences, current circumstances and psychological biases may play a role in shaping aspirations for our own future and our attitudes towards others. Our research in this area should help us better understand these complex links, and the ramifications for decision-making whether they concern major life decisions for ourselves and our families or how best to share wealth in society.