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 7: Conclusions

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


Chapter 7 draws together the threads of the previous six chapters and reflects on the value of our theoretical frameworks in light of the findings presented in the previous chapters. It argues for a synthesis of approaches that might be used in future research seeking to analyse the relationship between agenda-setting and paradigm change. It also discusses further the prospects for wellbeing in public policy and, specifically, the possibility of a ‘third wave’ of interest in which wellbeing is recognised as an important benchmark of progress, is internalised by key actors, is institutionalised in policy practices and leads to policy changes that have a significant effect on the lives of citizens.

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