Category Archives: Wellbeing and Policy

6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy: The Future of Well-Being

For well over a decade, the OECD World Forums on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy have been pushing forward the boundaries of well-being measurement and policy. By bringing together thousands of leaders, experts and practitioners from all sectors of society, the Forums have contributed to an ongoing paradigm shift that emphasises people’s well-being and inclusive growth as the ultimate focus for policies and collective action. The years since the first OECD World Forum in 2004 have seen huge advances in our ability to measure the aspects of people’s lives that matter for inclusive and sustainable well-being, and to strengthen the link between statistics, knowledge and policy for better lives. However, while we now have a much more sophisticated grasp of what metrics and actions are needed to foster well-being today, we know much less about how the drivers of well-being will be transformed in the coming years. The aim of this 6th OECD World Forum, is to look ahead to the Future of Well-being, and to ask what are the trends that will re-shape people’s lives in the decades to come?

The future of well-being in a complex, interconnected world

The world we live in today is more connected, and yet more fragmented than ever. Online networks flourish, but as well as bringing people together they also engender political polarisation, “fake news” and distrust between groups. Rising inequalities have become a fact of life, with the gaps between the “haves” and the “have nots” growing ever wider, and spanning multiple dimensions of well-being. And many of the most pressing well-being challenges facing governments around the world – including climate change, mass migration, and the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals – demand increased international cooperation at a time when nationalist and separatist ideologies are gaining traction in many countries.

Looking to the future, it is likely that these issues of complexity and interconnectedness will continue to define society in increasingly unpredictable ways.  Ensuring inclusive growth and well-being in this new landscape will require policy makers and actors from across society to think and act creatively, anticipating new risks and opportunities, and opening up to new approaches and new forms of partnership and collaboration across sectors.

Focus on digitalisation, governance and business

The 6th OECD World Forum will take a broad perspective to addressing the future of well-being, but will put a particular emphasis on three important trends – the digital transformation, the changing role of governance,  and the emergence of the private sector as an important actor for ensuring sustainable and inclusive well-being – as well as looking at the interplay of these three factors. As always, the Forum will showcase innovations and experiences from pioneers in well-being measurement and policy from around the world, but will explore the issues from a much more forward-looking perspective. By taking a wide-ranging approach to consider how life will be in tomorrow’s world, it will aim to map a plan of action for people, government and businesses today.


Confirmed speakers include OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, Statistics Korea Commissioner Hwang Soo-kyeong, Nobel Prize winner and economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations, and many other global leaders.

Interested in attending?

Visit our website to find more info on registration, the venue, and other FAQs.

Take a look at our detailed programme.

Contact us if you would like to attend.

Third International Conference on Well-Being and Public Policy

When: Wednesday 5 – Friday 7 September, 2018

Where: Wellington, New Zealand

Hosted by: Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand Treasury and the International Journal of Wellbeing

Call for Papers:

Submit your paper abstract before 30 April 2018. Submission should include author’s full name and affiliation, paper’s title and a short abstract – no longer than 250 words. For more info see here:

About the conference: 

This third in the series of international conferences on Wellbeing and Public Policy will (1) critically evaluate the rapidly expanding field of wellbeing research across a range of disciplines; (2) share the work of leading international organisations; and (3) distil ideas and practices which will aid governments in developing a wellbeing approach to public policy. For more info, visit the conference website here

Conference themes:

  1. Wellbeing and inequality
  2. Culture, indigeneity and wellbeing (incorporating Māoriwellbeing)
  3. Wellbeing, hope and perceptions of the future
  4. Sustainability, capital stocks and wellbeing
  5. Children’s wellbeing
  6. Wellbeing, utilitarianism and the capabilities approach  
  7. Technology and wellbeing
  8. Wellbeing – cause or effect?
  9. Wellbeing: policy and practice

Timeline (2018):

  1. Monday 30th April: Abstracts due
  2. Monday 21st May: Acceptance notification by email
  3. Monday 25th June: Early bird registration due
  4. Monday 30th July: Full registration due
  5. Wednesday 5th  – 7th September: Day registration

General conference questions?


Wellbeing gains significance in German policymaking

This post by Christian Kroll of Bertelsmann Stiftung gives weight to the view that it’s time for research on happiness and life satisfaction to be more systematically integrated into the policy advice architecture in Germany. 
Wellbeing and Policy” – that is the title of a landmark report written by Lord Gus O’Donnell and a group of renowned experts: Prof. Angus Deaton (Princeton University), Lord Prof. Richard Layard (London School of Economics), Dr. David Halpern (Behavioural Insights Team) and Martine Durand (OECD). It was commissioned by the London-based Legatum Institute.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung, a German think tank, invited the report’s authors to Berlin to discuss the group’s proposals with senior German policymakers and experts in Berlin. As a result, it emerged that the topic is of increasing significance in Europe’s largest economy. The coalition treaty which sets out the government’s work programme for the next 4 years, for instance, promises to develop and implement an action plan “gut leben” (good life) which shall be based on indicators of progress and well-being beyond GDP.

On the occasion of the event, the following video interviews with Martine Durand and Gus O’Donnell were filmed for the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s SGI News – a news portal of the Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) project that features stories around this Wikiprogress partner project. The SGI project just launched its new 2014 study which examines governance and policy making in all European Union and OECD countries.

A full report of the event in Berlin can be found here:
Putting the O’Donnell report in the German context, Prof Gert Wagner and I recently argued in an article for the leading economics opinion magazine Capital that it is time for research on happiness and life satisfaction to systematically be integrated into the policy advice architecture in Germany.

Dr. Christian Kroll is project manager of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Sustainable Governance Indicators project.