Social thinkers around the world are developing measures of human well-being that are meant to serve as guides for public policy. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities this work presents by describing a workable concept of well-being and analyzing how it relates to key characteristics of a democratic public-policy process. This analysis produces guidelines as to how well-being knowledge might be used to improve public policy – and also how it should not. These guidelines are then applied to evaluate six existing well-being indices, highlighting where they have been successful and where they have fallen short. Based on these lessons, I make several recommendations about how to utilize well-being knowledge to improve public policy.
Copyright is held by the author.
The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Member of collection