Maximising Utility - Taking Measures of Wellbeing Seriously in Policy

Treasury Guest Lecture Maximising Utility 5 Oct 2015b (1.5 MB)

Published: 2015

Author: Arthur Grimes

Event: Treasury Guest Lecture Monday 5 October 2015

Governments and policy-markets across the world now pay at least lip-service to maximising the wellbeing of their citizens, rather than maximising GDP per capita. Calls in this direction have been made variously by Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi (USA-UK-France), David Cameron (UK), Bhutan, the OECD and the New Zealand Treasury to name a few. But what does a policy approach of maximising wellbeing look like? And what do we know about wellbeing in New Zealand, both absolutely and relative to other countries?

This lecture examines what we know and don’t know about wellbeing in New Zealand and examines how recent international results might steer economic policy-making in future. Drawing on work funded through a Marsden Grant of the Royal Society of New Zealand, it answers some questions and raises new ones in this dynamic sphere of public policy.


Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand