“Measures of Subjective Well-being for Public Policy” is an interdisciplinary international conference taking place at the University of Leeds, 13-15 July, 2012.  Keynote speakers for the conference include Richard Layard, Peter Railton, Valerie Tiberius and Dan Haybron.

The conference aims to bring together philosophers and non-philosophers – from psychologists and sociologists to economists and public policy practitioners – to discuss the philosophical foundations of the use of measures of subjective well-being in public policy.  There are manyphilosophical issues involved in such a practice, which have so far been relatively unexplored.  These include:

  • How do measures of subjective well-being relate to philosophical accounts of happiness and well-being?
  • Are subjective well-being measures valid and prudentially relevant, and are they intra- and inter-personally comparable?
  • How do measures of subjective well-being relate to other measures of well-being, such as GDP?  Can we compare these different kinds of measures?
  • How can and should measures of subjective well-being be used to monitor progress, inform policy design, and appraise policy?
  • Do such measures lead towards a new kind of political utilitarianism?

These issues have been largely unexplored in part because of the lack of dialogue between philosophers and non-philosophers working on the role of subjective well-being in public policy.  This conference seeks to bridge that gap, offering a unique opportunity to promote inter-disciplinary dialogue on how well-being research might best be applied to policy-making.

For more information on conference topics and speakers, please visit the conference website. To register for the conference, please do so either directly by going to the relevant page on the IDEA CETL website here or indirectly through the ‘registration’ page on the conference website here.


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