One year ago the Legatum Institute set up an independent commission, titled 'The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy'. Chaired by former UK Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell, the commission was made up of a high-level panel of academics and experts in the field of economics and wellbeing: Angus Deaton from Princeton University, Martine Durand from the OECD, David Halpern from the Behavioural Insights team and Richard Layard from LSE.

The aim of the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy was to explore the implications of using a wellbeing lens for policy-making. After a year of intense research, the commissioners presented their final report Wellbeing and Policy, which proposes a radical reform of public policy-making that goes beyond the traditional economic framework of GDP growth. The report argues that GDP is too narrow a measure of prosperity. Instead, policy should aim at increasing people’s satisfaction with their lives, using measures of wellbeing as an indicator of success.

Some key conclusions were:

  • Mental health is a crucial determinant of wellbeing and should be treated as professionally as physical health;
  • Parents should be supported on understanding the emotional and physical challenges of child rearing;
  • At a community level, social relationships should be fostered, loneliness should be tackled and volunteering should be promoted.



Video - Panel Discussion (21 March 2014)

The report was launched in Berlin on 20 March 2014 at an event hosted by the Bertelsmann Foundation. It was followed by a livestreamed launch at the Legatum Institute in London, where the commissioners participated in a panel discussion moderated by Lord O’Donnell. Opening remarks were provided by Graeme Leach, Director of Economic and Prosperity Studies at the Legatum Institute.

The Legatum Institute is founded upon the principle that prosperity is a more capacious idea than can be expressed by a purely material measure such as GDP. Consequently, the Legatum Prosperity Index™ is based on both wealth and wellbeing.

The report, which was commissioned by the Legatum Institute, seeks to examine the implications for public policy of wellbeing analysis. This is an area of intense debate and the launch of the report will provide an opportunity to hear from world renowned experts on wellbeing.

Join the conversation on Twitter @LegatumInst #WellbeingPolicy 

Video Interview - Lord O'Donnell

Video Interview - Martine Durand

Video Interview - Angus Deaton

Video Interview - David Halpern

Video Interview - Lord Layard