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November 21, 2012

Measuring what matters

While LINK may be ‘nudging the tiller’, Carnegie UK is trying  to ‘shift the dial’ of Government thinking – albeit broadly in the same direction. Carnegie UK argues that while the current obsession with economic growth is understandable given the global economic crisis, the principle measure of economic growth (GDP) is much too crude if we are going to build a true picture of our progress as a society. A measure of wellbeing should complement economic growth


Jennifer Wallace and Katie Schmuecker , 2012

At a time of economic turmoil it is perhaps unsurprising that the minds of policy makers focus on the question of how to restart economic growth.  But in recent decades people have begun to question the adequacy of GDP as the primary indicator of the progress of societies.  A number of governments, local, devolved and national have begun to explore how to measure wellbeing as a complement to traditional measures such as GDP.
The project was carried out in partnership with IPPR North and provides evidence from six case studies of experiences of measuring wellbeing in France, the USA and Canada.
The report concludes that wellbeing measures are at their most effective when they are supported by a combination of strong leadership, technocractic policy processes and building momentum through wide buy-in from civil society, citizens and the media.  Where these elements come together, we have seen benefits for individual and community wellbeing by identifying policy gaps and innovative ways of working.  It can also provide a valuable tool for holding governments to account.
To obtain copy of full report click here