Expert views

Leading thinkers have commented here on nef's National Accounts of Well-being report and the proposals it contains.

“If policy makers are to make well-being a central objective they have to have ways of measuring it. So guidance on this is crucial. This is why this report is so important. It represents a valuable contribution to the search for a common system of measurement which could be widely used to change the basis on which policy is made.”
Professor Lord Richard Layard, founder-director of the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance

A number of governments are starting to recognize that the growth rate of gdp and human well-being do not necessarily move together. This report is an important step forward in suggesting measures that may prove more valuable than gdp as a guide to policies aimed at human betterment.
Richard Easterlin, University Professor and Professor of Economics, University of Southern California

“It is a joy to see fundamental research on the measurement of well-being across Europe come alive in this engaging, interactive programme. I believe this represents a valuable step towards the widespread recognition that information about how citizens experience their lives is as important for Governments and policy makers as information about the objective facts of their lives. National indicators of perceived well-being should stand alongside economic, social and environmental indicators as fundamental measures of the success of current practices and new initiatives.”
Professor Felicia A Huppert, Founding Director of the Well-being Institute, University of Cambridge

“This report presents the state of the art in the measurement of the well-being of nations. It provides the essential foundation for the next advance, which will require a careful study of what governments and societies can do to improve well-being.”
Professor Daniel Kahneman, Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2002

Lots of people are now talking about the importance of Well-being. And more and more people are starting to recognise the lethal consequences of using economic growth as our exclusive measure of progress. But prioritising Well-being and simultaneously “de-prioritising” economic growth means that we absolutely have to develop robust and compelling metrics around Well-being. Nef has been pioneering that work for years, and its “National Accounts of Well-being” report provides exactly the kind of rationale we need to get the system changed before its too late.”
Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future and Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission

“The development of comprehensive measures of well-being and societal progress is fundamental to improve policy making and the functioning of our societies. The integration of classical national accounts with measures of other dimensions of individual and societal well-being is a very promising way to go. This report represents an important step in this direction”.
Enrico Giovannini, Chief Statistician, OECD

"nef has produced a document that makes a compelling case for national accounts of well-being. In this thoughtful analysis, the new economics foundation shows why well-being measures capture important aspects of the quality of life of societies that are not assessed by economic indicators. This report is a must-read for policy makers, leaders, and ordinary educated citizens."
Professor Ed Diener, Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois

“This report ingeniously deploys data from the European Social Survey to tell a story that needs to be told. It brings into focus how people in different countries see the world and themselves, how they react to what they find, and the way in which social, psychological and cultural factors combine with economic factors to influence the quality of our lives.”
Professor Sir Roger Jowell, City University London, Co-ordinator of the European Social Survey

“As we enter a prolonged recession, it provides society an opportunity of reflecting on where we have come from and where we should be going. Well-being in society has rapidly moved up the population’s and government’s agenda. We need to encourage our politicians and business leaders to develop corporate and national accounts of well-being if we are to achieve our objectives of improving well-being for all throughout the life span.”
Professor Cary L. Cooper, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health, Lancaster University

“This report illustrates clearly and engagingly what is needed to support policy-relevant well-being research – local and national well-being accounts are the way to go.”
Professor John F. Helliwell, University of British Columbia, Co-director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Program on Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being

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