Any national government that attempts to move from simple well-being measurements to actual policy applications that will deal with increasing well-being will face many challenges.
Many initiatives in the 2019 Global Happiness and Wellbeing Policy Report face these challenges head-on, by bringing well-being monitoring closer to policymakers. They do this by producing shorter and more communicative dashboards of indicators, which are also timed to go in line with strategic decisions.
It is an essential first step as it can raise awareness and shape public dialogue. However, it mostly remains in the domain of measurement.
USING THE RIGHT TYPE OF MEASUREMENT
The domain of measurement might be the first step, but it is an essential one as that’s where we address the need to go beyond GDP and take governments to start measuring things outside of the economic benefits. People’s well-being must take into account essential elements like subjective well-being, social connections, quality of jobs, natural capital, and trust.
Most of these things have poorly measured in the past, and to create better policies, governments need to take these aspects into account. If the central objective is substituting normal economic growth for well-being, there needs to be a change of culture and practice in how policymaking is conducted.
The reality here is that countries are still experimenting with their well-being approaches which is why it’s not possible for us to make conclusions on which path is the right one. The most crucial thing here is to have the right leaders who will drive the change.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
Leaders need to be honest in their efforts; they honestly have to care for improving the people’s well-being. However, that’s not all.
It’s also necessary to identify the exact types of problems well-being approaches can solve.
Furthermore; those that are dealing with all of this need to be aware that there will be several key issues that must be handled immediately.
These include finding ways to integrate consideration of current well-being and resources for future well-being. Then there are the relationships between the two and finding a balance between them.
Then we have the cost-effectiveness of these policies. Their benefit should always outweigh the costs of implementing them.
Additionally, the analysts need to have enough flexibility allowed in their efforts to ensure that the most relevant and pertinent outcomes will be selected, but they also need to experience some control to ensure that everything is done correctly and everything is taken into account.
Adoption of well-being measurement initiatives has raised expectations about emphasizing on these measures in policies. However, metrics on their own do not provide a complete policy intervention.
To know how policy choices will improve lives, they must be assessed for the well-being impact they can have. That means bringing well-being into the heart of the decision making process. The requirement for this is strong leadership, action within the government, and further development of analytical tools.
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