The main aim of economic cost benefit analysis is arguably to maximise wellbeing, but in practice it can be very hard to quantify wellbeing in a way that allows it to be properly incorporated in the cost benefit analysis of public policy decisions. The Government Economic Service has been developing guidance to help economists understand how best to do this – including when and how to monetise wellbeing to ensure it is properly accounted for in the decision.
On Thursday 29 July, our expert speakers will discussed why wellbeing matters in public decisions and how wellbeing measures can best be incorporated in decision making. The event coincided with the launch of HM Treasury’s Wellbeing Supplementary Green Book Guidance.
Lord O’Donnell is a former British senior civil servant and economist, who between 2005 and 2011 served as the Cabinet Secretary, the highest official in the British Civil Service. From joining the Treasury as an economist, and serving in the British Embassy in Washington, involved with the IMF and World Bank, he became Permanent Secretary of the Treasury in 2002. After leaving the civil service in 2011, and being appointed a Life Peer in 2012, he has been involved in many areas: the chair of Frontier Economics, a visiting professor to the London School of Economics and University College London, a trustee of the Economist Group, a strategic adviser to the chief executive of Toronto Dominion Bank, on the main board of Brookfield asset management, President of the Council of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and Chair of Trustees of Pro Bono Economics.
Carol Graham is Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, College Park Professor at the University of Maryland, and a Senior Scientist at Gallup. She has been a Vice President at Brookings and a Special Advisor to the Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank. Graham is the author of numerous books – most recently The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-Being (Brookings) and Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires (Oxford) - and has published articles in a range of journals including Science, Social Science and Medicine, the World Bank Research Observer, Health Affairs, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Health Economics, and Perspectives on Psychological Science. Her work has been reviewed in Science, The New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books, among others. She received Pioneer Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2017 and 2021, and a Lifetime Distinguished Scholar award the International Society of Quality of Life Studies in 2018.
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