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Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures

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  • Paul Dolan
  • Richard Layard
  • Robert Metcalfe

Abstract

The measurement of wellbeing is central to public policy. There are three uses for any measure: 1) monitoring progress; 2) informing policy design; and 3) policy appraisal. There has been increasing interest in the UK and around the world in using measures of subjective wellbeing (SWB) at each of these levels. There is much less clarity about precisely what measures of SWB should be used. We distinguish between three broad types of SWB measure: 1) evaluation (global assessments); 2) experience (feelings over short periods of time); and 3) 'eudemonic' (reports of purpose and meaning, and worthwhile things in life).

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures," CEP Special Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepsps:23
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