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24 July 2012
The Legatum Institute (LI) announced today that it is forming a high-level Commission to examine the policy implications of wellbeing research. The independent Commission will be chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell and co-chaired by LI Chief Economist Robert Hahn. The Commission on Wellbeing Policy is part of the LI's Prosperity Studies program.
LI made the announcement on the day the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the first set of annual data on subjective wellbeing. The Commission will be non-partisan and will publish a report illustrating the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis. A range of issues will be examined including welfare policy, health, and work and wellbeing.
Jeffrey Gedmin, President and CEO of the Legatum Institute said: "The mission of the Legatum Institute is to understand the drivers of prosperity. We all care about growth and jobs, but these are means to an end. We need more than ever before a deeper understanding of prosperity, one that combines both wealth and wellbeing as measures of individual and national prosperity."
Lord O'Donnell said: "We now know much more about what drives the wellbeing of people and communities than we did 10 years ago, and our knowledge and understanding is set to increase significantly over the next few years with the data that is emerging from the ONS national wellbeing programme and other global researchers. There are clear policy implications and the Commission on Wellbeing Policy will explore these. I look forward to working with leading decision makers and academics in the UK and around the world on this exciting project which could transform the way we develop policy.
"We will announce further details on the Commission and who will be on it later in the summer, but suffice to say it will be an outstanding and non-partisan line-up."
Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood said: "We warmly welcome this Commission and look forward its conclusions. The Prime Minister has previously highlighted that it is high time we admitted that, taken on its own, GDP is an incomplete way of measuring a country's progress. Now that the ONS has started to deliver increasingly robust and fine-grained measures of wellbeing, we need to start reflecting on what this means for policy – and in such a new area, it is especially helpful to have external challenge to existing thinking."