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CEP report
Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures
Paul Dolan, Richard Layard and Robert Metcalfe
March 2011
Paper No' CEPSP23:
Full Paper (pdf)

The measurement of wellbeing is central to public policy. There are three uses for any measure: 1) monitoring progress; 2) informing policy design; and 3) policy appraisal. There has been increasing interest in the UK and around the world in using measures of subjective wellbeing (SWB) at each of these levels. There is much less clarity about precisely what measures of SWB should be used. We distinguish between three broad types of SWB measure: 1) evaluation (global assessments); 2) experience (feelings over short periods of time); and 3) ‘eudemonic’ (reports of purpose and meaning, and worthwhile things in life).