1st and 2nd Wellbeing and Public Policy​ Conferences

 

This was the website for the 1st and 2nd Wellbeing and Public Policy​ conferences. Content is from the site's 2012 - 2014 archived pages.

Welcome!

Wellbeing and Public Policy (WaPP) is a major international conference to be held in Wellington, New Zealand on 13-15 June 2012. The purpose of the conference is to bring together policymakers and world experts to discuss recent advances in wellbeing research and the application of wellbeing research to policymaking at all levels of government.


With rising academic, public and political interest in wellbeing, more and more government officials are considering using wellbeing research to inform their policy decisions. This conference will promote interdisciplinary dialogue on how wellbeing research might best be applied to policymaking. Several interrelated issues will be addressed (these topics are described in more detail be:

 - What should the role of wellbeing and wellbeing research be in policymaking?
 - How should wellbeing be defined for research and policymaking?
 - How should wellbeing be measured for research and policymaking?
 - What role, if any, should subjective measures of wellbeing play in policymaking and national accounts?
 - What evidence is there on policies that improve wellbeing?

The third day of the conference will be dedicated to invitation only high-level workshops focused on specific topics, including:

 - Which measures of subjective wellbeing (if any) should feature in national accounts of wellbeing?
 - Poor but satisfied.  Does subjective wellbeing have a place in addressing disadvantage?  
 - Gross National Happiness and other policy frameworks that look beyond the accumulation of wealth
 - How can research on subjective wellbeing actually inform policymaking? 
 - Is there a mutualistic relationship between wellbeing and productivity?
 - How can we best measure the wellbeing of children?

Authors of the best papers from the conference (and a similar one in the UK the month after) will be invited to publish their paper in a special issue of theInternational Journal of Wellbeing (scheduled for mid 2012)..

Wellbeing and Public Policy is hosted by International Journal of Wellbeing in conjunction with Victoria University of Wellington and the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

Organisers: Philip Morrison, Dan Weijers, and Aaron Jarden

POSSIBLE CONFERENCE TOPICS
What should the role of wellbeing and wellbeing research be in policymaking?
 - Productivity, sustainability, and wellbeing – what should the government and the public sector be prioritising?
 - How to inform policymakers about measures of wellbeing and livings standards frameworks
 - How to enable and improve policymakers understanding and use of wellbeing research and livings standards frameworks
 - Should policymakers just use existing wellbeing research or actively encourage new research on specific topics? And what are the best ways to do this?
 -  What levels of government should use wellbeing research for policymaking and what are the difficulties of doing this at different levels of government?

How should wellbeing be defined for research and policymaking?
 - The limits of GDP: what else we want to know about to improve wellbeing
 - Should there be an overall/summary indicator index?: Pluralistic/Dashboard vs. monistic and hybrid approaches
 - What needs to be covered?: Capabilities, outcomes, mental, physical, material
 - Is one notion of wellbeing or one facet of wellbeing going to be used as a benchmark to assess the importance or inclusion of other notions and facets?
 - Who should be consulted on the definition of wellbeing?: Should this be an academic, policy/political, public, or hybrid issue?
 - The international coordination of the definition

How should wellbeing be measured for research and policymaking?
 - The testing and validation process in practice
 - The right questions: What they are and how to ask them
 - Census, household surveys, panel data: Who to ask and how to ask them
 - The international coordination of the measures
 - How to measure everyone’s wellbeing: Using subjective measures of wellbeing to assess children

What role, if any, should subjective measures of wellbeing play in policymaking and national accounts?
 - Strengths and weaknesses of subjective measures
 - Assessing the relative significance of subjective and objective measures of wellbeing for policymaking – which, if any, is more important?
 - What to do about subjective objective discrepancies
 - Should the government and policymakers change attitudes as well circumstances in the name of improving subjective wellbeing?

What evidence is there on policies that improve wellbeing?
 - Employment /inflation tradeoffs and their effect on wellbeing
 - Job security/production efficiency tradeoffs and their effect on wellbeing
 - The relationship between subjective wellbeing/engagement and production
 - Parental leave and wellbeing

 

Presenters

Keynotes:
 - Andrew Clark
 - Robert
 - Paul Frijters
 - Robert MacCulloch
In total, there were 47 presentations led by international or local experts at the conference and workshops.

Workshops

The workshops are invite only and will be held on Friday 15 June 2012. The high-level workshops focused on specific topics, possibly including:

1.    Which measures of subjective wellbeing (if any) should feature in national accounts of wellbeing?

National accounts and wellbeing frameworks are being developed and reinvented in many countries. Most of these sets of indicators include subjective wellbeing, but there is little agreement about which measures are the best for this job and whether even the best measures are good enough. This workshop will investigate which measures of subjective wellbeing are conceptually and practically the most useful for measuring progress, or wellbeing in general, and the case for their inclusion in national accounts of wellbeing.

2.    Poor but satisfied.  Does subjective wellbeing have a place in addressing disadvantage?
What should we make of data that indicate many people without enough income to meet their everyday needs are nonetheless quite satisfied with their lives? In order to best answer this question, this workshop will consider why large gaps can open up between various measures of wellbeing and if these gaps can be explained by different groups’ varied perceptions and drivers of wellbeing.

3.    Gross National Happiness and other policy frameworks that look beyond the accumulation of wealth
Have the majority of national governments been looking at progress too narrowly? What can we learn about wellbeing and public policy from Bhutan and other policy frameworks that value social, environmental, and cultural capital as well as just physical and economic capital?

4.    How can research on subjective wellbeing inform policymaking?
This workshop will include examples of how research on wellbeing has been successfully used to inform policymaking and discussion on the minimum requirements a subjective wellbeing study must meet in order to be useful for policymakers. The discussion will centre on several specific applications.

5.    Wellbeing and productivity: A mutualistic relationship?
This workshop will investigate the relationship between various measures of wellbeing and productivity at work: Is a happier, more satisfied, or richer work force a more productive one? And does success at work in turn lead to increases in wellbeing? What consequences will a mutually reinforcing positive relationship between productivity and wellbeing have on growth?

6.    Measuring the wellbeing of children: How and why? 
There is a widespread concern internationally over the distribution of state resources across the age groups and there have been numerous calls for a redistribution of funding towards children.   This in turn exposes the contrast between the many empirically validated measures of wellbeing for adults and the relatively few measures designed for and applied to children. This workshop will investigate the special challenges involved with measuring the wellbeing of children. The workshop will canvas several models and provide examples of successful studies in this area.

Workshops

The workshops were held on Friday 15 June 2012 at Te Papa's TelstraClear Centre from 9:00am to 5:00pm. 

The topics were:

1. 
The wellbeing framework of the New Zealand and Australian Treasuries (9:00am-12:00noon) 
National accounts and wellbeing frameworks are being developed and reinvented in many countries, but there is little agreement about which measures are the best for this job and whether even the best measures are good enough. This workshop investigated which measures of  wellbeing are conceptually and practically the most useful for measuring progress, or wellbeing in general.

Chair: Vicky Robertson (Treasury)

Presenter 1: Girol Karacaoglu (NZ Treasury). Improving the living standards of New Zealanders: moving from a framework to implementation.

Commentator: Colin Lynch (Statistics New Zealand)

Presenter 1: James Kelly (Australian Treasury). The Australian Treasury’s Wellbeing Framework.

Commentator: Nick Carroll (NZ Treasury)


2. The wellbeing of children (9:00am-12:00noon)
There is a widespread concern internationally over the distribution of state resources across the age groups and there have been numerous calls for a redistribution of funding towards children. This in turn exposes the contrast between the many empirically validated measures of wellbeing for adults and the relatively few measures designed for and applied to children. This workshop investigated the special challenges involved with measuring the wellbeing of children. This workshop canvassed several models and provided examples of successful studies in this area. 

Chair: Jonathan Boston (VUW)

Presenter 1: Simon Chapple (Secretariat to the Expert Advisory Group on ‘Solutions to child poverty’ of the Children’s Commissioner). Policy for enhancing child wellbeing in New Zealand.

Commentator: Joe Cribb (Children’s Commission)

Presenter 2: Paul Frijters (University of Queensland). Whatever happened to happy kids?

Commentator: Bronwyn Hayward (Canterbury University)


3. The wellbeing of low income households(1:00pm-3:00pm)  
What should we make of data that indicate many people without enough income to meet their everyday needs are nonetheless quite satisfied with their lives? In order to best answer this question, this workshop considered why large gaps can open up between various measures of wellbeing and if these gaps can be explained by different groups’ varied perceptions and drivers of wellbeing. 

Chair: Paul Brown (Statistics NZ)

Presenter 1: Philip Morrison (VUW) and Margreet Frieling (Statistics NZ). The subjective wellbeing of low income households.

Commentator: Brian Easton(Independent Scholar)

Presenter 2: Bryan Perry (Ministry of Social Development). The material wellbeing of low-income households.

Commentator: Kristie Carter (Otago University)


4. Gross National Happiness and other policy frameworks that look beyond the accumulation of wealth (1:00pm-3:00pm)
Have the majority of national governments been looking at progress too narrowly? What can we learn about wellbeing and public policy from Bhutan and other policy frameworks that value social, environmental, and cultural capital as well as just physical and economic capital? 

Chair: Ralph Chapman (VUW) 

Presenter 1: Michael S. Givel (The University of Oklahoma). Gross National Happiness in Bhutan: policy outputs and outcomes from 2009-2011.

Presenter 2: Katherine Trebeck (UK Poverty reduction, OXFAM) and Gehan MacLeod (Galgael Trust). The Oxfam Humankind Index.

Presenter 3: Yoshiaki Takahashi (Japan International Cooperation Agency). Japan’s wellbeing index: concept, framework and a public policy tool.

5.  How can research on subjective wellbeing inform policymaking?  (3:30pm-5:00pm)  
This workshop included examples of how research on wellbeing has been and could be successfully used to inform policymaking and discussion on the minimum requirements a subjective wellbeing study must meet in order to be useful for policymakers. The discussion centred on several specific applications. 

Chair: Amanda Wolf (VUW)

Presenter: Robert Cummins (Deakin University)Measuring subjective wellbeing to inform public policy. 
Commentator: Arthur Grimes (Motu: Economic and Public Policy Research)

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2014 International Wellbeing and Public Policy Conference

June 10-12, 2014
Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

The International Journal of Wellbeingis pleased to announce the second International Wellbeing and Public Policy Conference, to be held June 10-12, 2014 on the campus of Hamilton College in scenic upstate New York. This conference follows on from the inaugural conference held June 12-15, 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. Keynote speakers for the 2014 conference include prominent wellbeing scholars Carol Graham, John Helliwell, Andrew Oswald, Arthur Stone and via skype Ruut Veenhoven.

Programme

Keynote speakers for the 2014 conference include prominent wellbeing scholars:

  • Andrew Oswald
  • John Helliwell
  • Arthur Stone
  • Ruut Veenhoven  

with others to be announced at a later date.

 

WellBeingAndPublicPolicy.org