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.
|Title of host publication||Routledge Handbook of the Welfare State: Second Edition|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 26 Apr 2017|