It is widely agreed that GDP is an important yet insufficient measure of national success. In an attempt to broaden the scope for public policy
analysis, a lot of progress has been made on developing the measurement of individual wellbeing, but a lot remains to be done on how best to apply
these data to policymaking. The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy works to fill this gap and explore how wellbeing analysis can be usefully
applied to policy.
Chaired by former UK Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell, the Commission, which ran for approximately one year, produced a
final report that illustrates the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis and provides original and authoritative guidance on the
implications for public policy.
The final report was launched in Berlin on Thursday, 20 March 2014 (summary), followed by a livestreamed London launch on Friday, 21 March
The Commission was politically independent, and includes an international perspective in its work.
|“The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy looks at how wellbeing can have real and
practical policy implications on the individual level, the community and regional level, and at the national and global level. Wellbeing research
is a fantastic new growth area. Together with the Legatum Institute, we are going to make this the driver of policy and
-Lord O'Donnell, Chair of the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy
| || Gus O'Donnell (Chair) |
Lord O’Donnell, currently Chair of Frontier Economics, was the Head of the Civil Service and
Cabinet Secretary between 2005 and 2011. Prior to that he served as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury between 2002 and 2005. Additionally he
undertook the position as the United Kingdom’s Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and has served as
Managing Director of Macroeconomic Policy and International Finance at HM Treasury. In January of 2012 he received a peerage and took his seat in
the House of Lords. Lord O’Donnell was a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow before joining the civil service and received his M.Phil from
Nuffield College, Oxford and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Warwick.
| Angus Deaton |
Angus Deaton is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. He has published numerous papers
which examine the relationship between income and wellbeing and how best to measure wellbeing. Most recently, he is the author of The Great
Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality. He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, the British Academy, the Royal Society of
Edinburgh and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Rome, London, Edinburgh, and St.
Andrews. Prior to Princeton he was Professor of Econometrics at the University of Bristol.
| David Halpern |
David Halpern is the Chief Executive of Behavioural Insights and Board Director. He has led the team
since its inception in 2010. Prior to that,
David was the founding Director of the Institute for Government and between 2001 and 2007 was the Chief Analyst at the Prime
Minister’s Strategy Unit. Before entering government, David held tenure at Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard and has written several books and
papers on areas relating to behavioural insights and wellbeing, including as a co-author of the MINDSPACE report and the Hidden
Wealth of Nations.
| || Martine Durand |
Ms. Durand is the Chief Statistician and Director of the OECD Statistics Directorate. She oversees
the organisation’s statistical activities and is responsible for the work on the measurement of wellbeing and societal progress and the
biennial flagship report How’s Life? Measuring Well-Being, as part of the OECD Better Life Initiative. Prior to this position
she was Deputy-Director of Employment, Labour, and Social Affairs at the OECD. She has authored numerous papers on wellbeing, labour markets,
social policies, and international migration. She studied
mathematics, statistics, and economics from Paris VI University, École Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration
Économique and the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.
| Richard Layard |
Lord Layard is the Director of the Wellbeing Programme in the Centre for Economic Performance at the
London School of Economics. He is the author of the influential book titled Happiness, which argued that social progress should be judged
by the extent of happiness and misery. He is a leading authority in the growing debate on happiness and economics. He is also well known for his
earlier work on unemployment and inequality. He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics and Political
Video - Panel Discussion (21 March 2014)
Video Interview - Lord O'Donnell
Video Interview - Martine Durand
Video Interview - Angus Deaton
Video Interview - David Halpern
Video Interview - Lord Layard