The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing

The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing

Understanding the Rise and Significance of a New Agenda

Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

Government interest in wellbeing as an explicit goal of public policy has increased significantly in recent years, leading to new developments in measuring wellbeing and initiatives aimed specifically at enhancing wellbeing. This book provides the first theoretically informed account of the rise and significance of this agenda, drawing on the multiple streams approach, to consider whether wellbeing can be described as ‘an idea whose time has come’. It reflects on developments across the globe and provides a detailed comparative analysis of two political arenas: the UK and the EU.

Chapter 1: Wellbeing in politics and policy

Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international politics, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, transport

Abstract

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in governmental interest in the idea of wellbeing. At international level, there are initiatives within the EU, OECD, UN and at national level, within states as diverse and geographically spread as Australia, Bhutan, Ecuador, France and Morocco. This chapter outlines the nature and development of this rising interest in wellbeing before articulating some of the challenges wellbeing presents to economics and politics. It explains why these developments demand the attention of political analysts and outlines the key contribution of the book as the first theoretically and empirically informed analysis of the rise and significance of wellbeing in politics and policy. In addition, it identifies the two main questions of the study as: 1. How and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? 2. What are the policy implications of this rising interest in the idea of wellbeing?