This paper by Dr Richard Tooth provides a background on subjective wellbeing (SWB) and provides guidelines for how and why wellbeing measures should be used in public policy. It includes case studies of the application of wellbeing measurement to policies and programs as well as Australian data sources for wellbeing measurement.

Report for NSW Treasury: Using subjective wellbeing in policy in NSW

Dr Richard Tooth is a Director with the Sydney office of Sapere Research Group. He works on public policy, competition and regulatory issues across a number of industries including water, energy, transport and financial services. Dr Tooth has a PhD in Economics, a Master in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science.

“SWB measures may fill a gap not covered by more traditional measures such as social indicators and conventional economic measures. A key attraction of SWB measures is that they attempt to directly measure wellbeing. As such they can be used to identify when wellbeing is low, how improvements may be achieved and evaluate initiatives in terms of changes to wellbeing. Being a measure that captures many influences, SWB can be used in a broad range of situations and analysed to reveal new insights in the determinants of wellbeing. SWB can be used as a common metric for comparing the impact of different policies and programs.”

Dr Richard Tooth