Experienced Well-Being Could Inform Policy Making

A new report says data about self-reported feelings are useful markers for policymakers working to improve living and working conditions for populations.

An actual human brain displayed inside a glass box, as part of an interactive exhbition 'Brain: a world inside your head', in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 21, 2009.
National Journal
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Clara Ritger
Dec. 4, 2013, 6:18 a.m.

Data about self-re­por­ted well-be­ing could help poli­cy­makers look­ing to im­prove over­all pop­u­la­tion hap­pi­ness, a new re­port finds.

The Na­tion­al Re­search Coun­cil found that know­ing mark­ers of a pop­u­la­tion’s con­tent­ment, joy, frus­tra­tion, and stress can help shape policies such as end-of-life care, com­mut­ing, child-cus­tody laws, and city plan­ning.

“The most com­pel­ling case for gath­er­ing data on ex­per­i­enced well-be­ing is to identi­fy par­tic­u­lar pop­u­la­tions that are suf­fer­ing and to shed light on ways to al­le­vi­ate that suf­fer­ing,” said Ar­thur Stone, chair­man of the com­mit­tee that wrote the re­port and a pro­fess­or at Stony Brook Uni­versity.

The study was re­ques­ted by the U.S. Na­tion­al In­sti­tute on Aging and the U.K. Eco­nom­ic and So­cial Re­search Coun­cil.


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