Wellbeing Framework

GDP cannot measure the wellbeing and the quality of life of Irish Citizens; we must establish a Wellbeing Framework to measure the welfare of the Irish nation and look at the social benefits of our national budgetary decisions.

A mother and baby play on a window seat at home

The Green Party believes that GDP is not a way to measure the wellbeing and the quality of life of Irish Citizens; it’s time we looked to Wellbeing Indicators to measure the welfare of the Irish nation and look at the social benefits of our national budgetary decisions.

Until now, Ireland’s economic success has been gauged by measuring of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is solely a measure of the Irish economy. A Wellbeing Framework would look at how Ireland is doing in a much broader way than simply our economic performance, and alongside existing economic tools, they provide an opportunity to create a well-rounded, holistic view of how our society is faring. By measuring impacts on equality, climate action, the distribution of poverty, access to basic services and the long-term sustainability and security of current economic models, Wellbeing Indicators ensure budgets and policies are focused on improving the lives of all Irish citizens.

In November 2020, the Green Party launched position paper on the use of Wellbeing Indicators as a tool in national budgets and policymaking. In this paper, the Green Party proposes that it is the duty of government to base budgetary and policy decisions on improving the wellbeing of all those who live under their jurisdiction in a social, environmental and economic model that respects this generation and the next. This ambition aligns well with Green Party targets for the introduction of economic parameters reflecting the ‘Doughnut Economics’ model of fiscal analysis. In 2021, informed by Green Party Policy and Wellbeing Indicators, the Irish government announced the development of a Wellbeing Framework for Ireland.

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GDP isn’t always a good reflection of how we’re really doing as an economy. How do people feel? How are they getting on in life? Are they well? Do kids have access to a green space? Those are the issues that the economy is meant to address, and Wellbeing Indicators are a way of doing this.

Wellbeing Indicators should not be solely linked to economic performance (e.g. unemployment, wages, poverty etc.)

Wellbeing Indicators must be conceptualised, developed, implemented, and managed within a public participation context. Public trust is the basis for this decision-making model.

All of the indicators should be rooted in the objective consideration of need and evidence-based benchmarking.

Wellbeing Indicators should be target and performance based and show year on year progression with legislature oversight on progress made.

The Green Party believes that the data collected in the formation of any system of Wellbeing Indicators should operate as an open data system and that this best practice.

We propose to further this work within the framework of the OECD four dimensions of wellbeing: social capital, natural capital, human capital and economic capital.