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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

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?