Towards Evidence Based Public Policy: The Power and Potential of using Well-being Indicators in a Political Context

Marks, Nic

In: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Operationalization of Gross National Happiness. Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu 2004, pp. 319-346 . ISBN 99936-14-22-X

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This paper is based on a pilot project carried out jointly by nef (the new economics foundation) and Nottingham City Council (NCC). The purpose of the project was to explore the potential of using wellbeing indicators in a Local Government setting. In the UK all Local Government Authorities have recently been granted a new legal power – called the Power of Well-Being (Local Government Act 2000). The Bhutanese political challenge of operationalising the idea of "Gross National Happiness" is possibly a similar challenge to the UK Local Governments' in regard to "Well-being". Whilst there may be some differences between 'happiness' and 'wellbeing', for the purposes of this paper the two concepts are considered as equivalent. Details of our approach and understanding of well-being are laid out in the paper. Essentially we propose that well-being concerns both people's satisfaction with their lives and their personal development. It should be noted that the author is not an expert on either the historical context or the type of "economic development" pressures that a country such as Bhutan is under. This paper is offered as a case study of a pilot project. Some of the methodologies and findings are very specific to the project’s context – young people living in a city environment, in a Western economically developed country. However it is hoped that the spirit of the inquiry, which is effectively to raise the happiness of young people in Nottingham, is directly relevant to the purpose of this conference.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 15:11
ISBN: 99936-14-22-X
Faculties / Institutes: Research Organisations / Academies > Centre for Bhutan Studies
DDC-classification: Social sciences
Controlled Keywords: Bruttonationalglück, Wohlbefinden, Sozialer Indikator
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lebensqualität, Gross National Happiness , Well-Being , Social Indicator
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: Bhutan
other countries