Shifting the Dial: From wellbeing measures to policy practice

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Author: Jennifer Wallace and Katie Schmuecker

Year: 2012

ISBN: 9.7809E+12

At a time of economic turmoil it is perhaps unsurprising that the minds of policy makers focus on the question of how to restart economic growth.  But in recent decades people have begun to question the adequacy of GDP as the primary indicator of the progress of societies.  A number of governments, local, devolved and national have begun to explore how to measure wellbeing as a complement to traditional measures such as GDP. 

The project was carried out in partnership with IPPR North and provides evidence from six case studies of experiences of measuring wellbeing in France, the USA and Canada. 

The report concludes that wellbeing measures are at their most effective when they are supported by a combination of strong leadership, technocractic policy processes and building momentum through wide buy-in from civil society, citizens and the media.  Where these elements come together, we have seen benefits for individual and community wellbeing by identifying policy gaps and innovative ways of working.  It can also provide a valuable tool for holding governments to account. 

For further information on our work on Measuring What Matters please contact Jennifer Wallace, Policy Manager at



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