Leading LSE academics call for post-COVID wellbeing agency

Whatever shape the post-COVID world takes, the time has arrived for wellbeing over the lifetime to be the unit analysis in policy.
- Professor Paul Dolan
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The government should create a wellbeing impacts agency and a wellbeing commission to enable policymakers to consider citizens’ wellbeing and quality of life in future, state a leading group of LSE academics.

The recommendations were published in a white paper that called for a broader approach that includes measuring policy responses against both life expectancy and life experience. 

The paper is authored by academics including: Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science, LSE; Lord (Richard) Layard, Emeritus Professor of Economics, LSE; and Lord (Gus) O’Donnell, Chair of Frontier Economics and Visiting Professor, LSE.

The authors said: “Whatever our views on the responses to the current pandemic, we are all agreed that there are important lessons for how to respond to future crises and how to make better policy decisions in calmer times, too.”

“Our focus is on how to better capture the full range of outcomes of policy and their effects on the distributions of wellbeing across society. We also consider the processes by which decisions are made and set out some immediate actions that will go a long way towards ensuring that future harms are minimised.”

Included in the paper’s recommendations are an urgent call for greater diversity of professional perspective and personal experience in decision-making, and increased transparency in what data is being used to inform decision-making.

Professor Dolan states that “whatever shape the post-Covid world takes, the time has arrived for wellbeing over the lifetime to be the unit analysis in policy.”

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell added: "This report serves as a timely reminder of the need for government to properly account for the wellbeing impacts of its policy decisions."

You can read the full white paper here.

Professor Dolan’s blog is here.

This report is part of the LSE Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative convening a debate about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis.