Wednesday 13 February 2019

Happy now? Wellbeing lessons for policy makers

Subjective wellbeing is arguably the most important objective for households, but historically it has been far less of a priority for governments. However, the wellbeing agenda has grown in importance in Whitehall over the last decade and we have been comprehensively tracking it in official data since 2011. Now is the time to ask what concrete lessons this agenda holds for economic policy makers.

How are the issues of GDP, incomes and wellbeing linked? Should a well-being focus change our objectives for the quantity and quality of work? How do key living standards shifts – from pay rises to job losses, and changes in housing tenure – affect people’s economic well-being?

At an event at its Westminster offices, the Resolution Foundation presented the key findings of new research into the lessons for economic policy makers from a broader focus on wellbeing. A panel of experts, including former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, then debated how policy makers should think about economic wellbeing, before taking part in an audience Q&A.



  • Lord Gus O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary and Chair of Frontier Economics
  • Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston
  • Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science at the LSE, and author of Happy Ever After
  • George Bangham, Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation
  • Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation