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Well-Being for Public Policy$
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Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, Ulrich Schimmack, and John Helliwell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195334074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334074.001.0001

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(p.208) Chapter 13 Conclusions
Well-Being for Public Policy

Ed Diener

Richard E. Lucas

Ulrich Schimmack

John F. Helliwell

Oxford University Press

Well-being measures can shed light on a large number of questions about diverse policy issues. Existing surveys are not sufficiently developed to offer definitive information, and therefore broad and ongoing accounts of well-being are needed. The well-being measures will not replace the information gained from existing social and economic measures but will complement it. The well-being measures have the ability to provide a broader perspective on quality of life than do measures that focus on a single objective such as economic growth. Although we do not fully understand well-being and the societal factors that influence it, it is nonetheless timely to implement national indicators of well-being because these measures are likely to inform the decisions of individual citizens as well as policy makers. Initial steps toward measuring societal well-being have already been taken in many nations, and show the promise of the well-being findings to create better policies. Although a full-blown set of national accounts of well-being are desirable, calculated steps to implement this goal incrementally can be taken, starting with the inclusion of life satisfaction and other measures in many ongoing studies and surveys.

Keywords:   economic growth, life satisfaction, national accounts, policy, well-being

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