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


Fabian, M and Alexandrova, A and Coyle, D and Agarwala, M and Felici, M, Respecting the subject in wellbeing public policy: beyond the social planner perspective, European Journal of Social Psychology pp. 1-24. ISSN 0046-2772 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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© 2022. The Authors. Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.

DOI: doi:10.1080/13501763.2022.2093947


We compare and evaluate two competing paradigms in the 'wellbeing public policy' (WPP) space with the intention of promoting interdisciplinary dialogue. We argue that most WPP proposals adopt the same 'social planner perspective' (SPP) that undergirds conventional economic policy analysis. The SPP 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. We call this the 'citizen's perspective' (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. We present a preliminary framework for analysing when the SPP or CP is more suitable to a particular area of WPP.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:wellbeing, public policy, happiness, coproduction, participatory governance, social planner, life satisfaction
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Political theory and political philosophy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Public services policy advice and analysis
UTAS Author:Fabian, M (Dr Mark Fabian)
ID Code:153609
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:CALE Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-09-27
Last Modified:2022-11-28
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