LONDON (24 July, 2012) The Legatum Institute is establishing a high-level Commission to examine the policy implications of wellbeing research. The Commission on Wellbeing Policy will be chaired by Gus O'Donnell who, until late 2011, was the UK Cabinet Secretary, the highest-ranking official in the Civil Service.
The Legatum Institute made the announcement on the day the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the first set of annual data on subjective wellbeing. The Commission will be co-chaired by Legatum Institute Chief Economist Robert Hahn, who has taught at Harvard University and worked at the White House. Hahn is also the Director of Economics at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University.
Jeffrey Gedmin, President and CEO of the Legatum Institute, said: “The mission of the Legatum Institute is to understand the drivers of prosperity. We all care about growth and jobs, but they are only a means to an end. More than ever before, we need a deeper understanding of prosperity, one that combines both wealth and wellbeing as measures of individual and national prosperity.”
The Commission will be independent, non-partisan, and will include leading scholars and policy practitioners from the UK and around the world. The Commission will examine a range of issues, including welfare policy, health, and work and wellbeing. The final Commission report will illustrate the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis, tying latest research findings to the everyday practical needs of citizens.
Commission Chairman Lord O’Donnell said: “We now know much more about what drives the wellbeing of people and communities than we did 10 years ago, and our knowledge and understanding is set to increase significantly over the next few years. I look forward to working on this exciting project which could transform the way we develop policy.”
The UK Government welcomed the establishment of the Commission: UK Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood said: “The Prime Minister has previously highlighted that it is high time we admitted that, taken on its own, GDP is an incomplete way of measuring a country’s progress. We need to start reflecting on what this means for policy—and in such a new area, it is especially helpful to have an external challenge to existing thinking.”
Further details on the Commission will be announced in due course.
About the Legatum Institute
Based in London, the Legatum Institute is an independent non-partisan public policy group whose research, publications, and programmes advance ideas and policies in support of free and prosperous societies around the world. The Legatum Institute’s signature annual publication is the Legatum Prosperity Index™, the world’s only global assessment of national prosperity based on both wealth and wellbeing. For Media Enquiries contact:
Shazia Ejaz, Senior Communications Manager
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