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From measurement to application: wellbeing indicators in socio-ecological systems

In: Sustainable Wellbeing Futures


  • Kati Gallagher
  • Michael Moser
  • Mairi-Jane V. Fox
  • Jane Kolodinsky


Much of the world continues to rely on narrow macroeconomic metrics, such as GDP, as a primary indicator for societal progress and policy, despite an understanding of their shortcomings. As we face increasing environmental, economic, and social pressures, it is critical that our indicators become more accountable to the multidimensionality of human wellbeing. These indicators should incorporate aspects of sustainability and subjective wellbeing and address questions of fitness for use to support full implementation in decision-making processes. This chapter describes the development and increased use of statistical metrics, differing perspectives and goals of indicator design, and explores several challenges associated with fitness for use and implementation. As this focus on wellbeing indicators is relatively new and has yet to be significantly integrated into policy processes and systems, there are many research questions – and challenges for researchers – discussed throughout.

Suggested Citation

  • Kati Gallagher & Michael Moser & Mairi-Jane V. Fox & Jane Kolodinsky, 2020. "From measurement to application: wellbeing indicators in socio-ecological systems," Chapters, in: Robert Costanza & Jon D. Erickson & Joshua Farley & Ida Kubiszewski (ed.), Sustainable Wellbeing Futures, chapter 10, pages 167-178, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:eechap:18954_10

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    Economics and Finance; Environment;


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