Are national statistics on subjective well-being valid and reliable?
Monday 4 April 2011, 5.00 - 6.30pm
Venue: Alexander Theatre, Samuel Alexander Building, University of Manchester, Lime Grove (off Oxford Road), Manchester, M13 9PL (Building number 67 on the campus map)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and methods@manchester held a debate on “Are national statistics on subjective well-being valid and reliable?” at the University of Manchester on Monday 4th April. This supports the national debate on measuring national well-being.
Chair: Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor
• Richard Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, and Honorary Professor at University College London. He is best known for his 2009 book (with Kate Pickett) The Spirit Level, in which he argues that societies with more a equal distribution of incomes have better health and social outcomes than ones in which the gap between richest and poorest parts society is greater. He is also the co-founder and co-director of The Equality Trust.
• Andrew Oswald is a Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. He is a member of the advisory board to the Office for National Statistics on measuring well-being. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Science and an ISI Highly Cited Researcher. For the last twenty years his main research has been on the statistical study of well-being, happiness and resilience.
• David Hulme is Professor of Development Studies, Director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute and Head of the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester. He has worked on rural development, poverty and poverty reduction, microfinance, the role of NGOs in development, environmental management, social protection and the political economy of global poverty for more than 30 years. His recent books include Global Poverty (Routledge, 2010), Just Give Money to the Poor (Kumarian Press, 2010).
• Stephen Stansfeld is a Professor of Psychiatry at Queen Mary, University of London. His research interests include the effects of the physical and social environment on mental health. He is particularly interested in the psychosocial work environment and social support as predictors of common mental disorder. He is interested in psychosocial influences, especially depression, on coronary heart disease and has co-edited a book on psychosocial pathways to coronary heart disease. He also works as a consultant psychiatrist in psychiatric rehabilitation.
• Stephen Hicks is the Assistant Deputy Director of Measuring National Well-being at the Office for National Statistics. He has over ten years of experience working in government statistics covering a range of areas including analysis of the Labour Market, Employment Relations and Regional and Local statistics. His roles have included leading on various development projects to improve the quality of statistics as well as providing statistical advice to policy makers.
The panel members were asked questions from the chair and members of the audience. Background material on the issues of well-being and related documents can be found on the ONS website.