To GDP or not to GDP? Identifying the factors promoting and inhibiting the use and impact of well-being metrics in Scotland and Italy
8:00am PDT/11:00am EDT/5:00pm CET
A vast array of well-being metrics has been developed that aim to complement or replace Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and put well-being at the heart of policymaking. Nonetheless, previous research has shown that their use and impact has been limited to date. In this webinar, I will discuss the findings of my doctoral research which examined the use and impact of well-being metrics and the factors affecting them in the crucial cases of Scotland and Italy. Despite being at the forefront of the well-being debate, both countries had never indeed been studied before in the context in question. The thesis collates views from 120 stakeholders on different facets of the well-being debate gathered through interviews that were conducted between 2018 and 2020. Furthermore, it provides an extended analysis of the use of well-being metrics in parliamentary debates and media reporting in both countries before and during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (until 2022), the first of its kind to be undertaken. Findings reveal low awareness of well-being metrics and of GDP’s limitations, especially among policymakers and journalists; a prevailing view of economic growth as a prerequisite for well-being which translates into the preference for GDP to be integrated with other metrics rather than replaced altogether and which results in economic crises generating punctuations that strengthen the status quo and hinder attempts to bring about change; and an almost unanimous skepticism of subjective indicators. Most importantly, findings reveal very limited use and impact of well-being metrics, particularly of official national frameworks.
Presented by: Fabio Battaglia
Fabio is Fellow in Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Research Fellow of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. Prior to joining LSE, Fabio worked as Executive Research Assistant to Professor Henrietta Moore, Founder and Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL. In 2022, Fabio successfully passed his viva at the University of Edinburgh without corrections. His thesis, whose findings will be presented in this webinar, investigated the factors promoting and inhibiting the use and impact of well-being metrics in Scotland and Italy. Fun fact: he once played on stage with U2.
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