Well-being and the welfare state

Daniel Sage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


During the past decade, governments from across Europe and in other advanced welfare states have expanded their interest in integrating measures of well-being into the design of social policy. This development has been driven by a wide range of factors, including environmental concerns, economic crises and increasing evidence on the determinants of subjective well-being. In response, several governments have sought to incorporate indicators of well-being into social surveys, policy evaluations and the design of social interventions. This chapter explores the increasing significance of well-being to welfare states and the challenges posed by incorporating well-being as a meaningful and measurable outcome of social policies. First, it addresses the policy context behind the growing relationship between well-being and social policy, examining how recent social trends have informed the debate. Second, it summarizes the empirical evidence base on the determinants of well-being, identifying potential roles for welfare states. Third, in examining unemployment, it presents a case study of how evidence on well-being has been used to influence debates around welfare state reform. Fourth and finally, the chapter concludes by considering empirical and normative critiques of the role of well-being in social policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of the Welfare State
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
EditorsBent Greve
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315207049
ISBN (Print)9781138631649
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Well-being and the welfare state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this