Respecting the subject in wellbeing public policy: beyond the social planner perspective


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Alexandrova, A 
Coyle, D 
Agarwala, M 
Felici, M 
Abstract

There is rising advocacy for public policy to be made on the basis of ‘wellbeing’. We compare and evaluate two competing paradigms within this space that we term the social planner perspective (SPP) and citizen perspective (CP) respectively, with the intention of improving interdisciplinary dialogue. We argue that most wellbeing public policy (WPP) proposals adopt the same SPP that undergirds conventional economic policy analysis. This perspective is broadly technocratic, emphasising scientific standards for what constitutes good policy and empowering ‘dispassionate’ experts. We argue that WPP could lend itself to a more transformative agenda, one that embraces the value-laden nature of ‘wellbeing’ as a concept. This is the CP. It would see WPP relinquish the SPP’s stance of detached analysis by technical experts and instead give a greater role to participatory and deliberative modes of policymaking to define, analyse, and measure wellbeing and ultimately make policy decisions. However, the CP is not without drawbacks. In particular, it is slow and logistically intensive. It is also relatively unsuitable for private, individual, and low-stakes domains of public policy. We present a preliminary framework for thinking through when the SPP or CP is more suitable to a particular area of WPP.

Description
Keywords
Wellbeing, public policy, social planner, coproduction, participatory governance
Journal Title
Journal of European Public Policy
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1350-1763
1466-4429
Volume Title
Publisher
Informa UK Limited
Sponsorship
ESRC (ES/T005556/1)