The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing
Show Less

The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing

Understanding the Rise and Significance of a New Agenda

Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

Government interest in wellbeing as an explicit goal of public policy has increased significantly in recent years, leading to new developments in measuring wellbeing and initiatives aimed specifically at enhancing wellbeing. This book provides the first theoretically informed account of the rise and significance of this agenda, drawing on the multiple streams approach, to consider whether wellbeing can be described as ‘an idea whose time has come’. It reflects on developments across the globe and provides a detailed comparative analysis of two political arenas: the UK and the EU.
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 3: Two waves of wellbeing

Ian Bache and Louise Reardon


Chapter 3 begins to address the first question of the book – how and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? – drawing on the analytical framework developed in Chapter 2. It identifies two ‘waves’ of interest in wellbeing since the end of the Second World War that a share a critique of GDP as the dominant indicator of societal progress: the first wave rising in the 1960s and falling in the 1970s, and the second beginning in the 1990s and continuing to the present. It explains the rise and fall of the social indicators movement in the first wave and the distinctive features of the current second wave, which is the main focus of the book. This second wave is characterised by increasing attention to environmental issues and greater confidence in the measurement of wellbeing, and particularly subjective wellbeing. In this chapter we limit our discussion of the second wave to developments that have placed the issue on the agenda of major international organisations, before turning to developments in specific political systems in Chapter 4.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.