Researching Well-Being: Communicating between the Needs of Policy Makers and the Needs of People

J Allister McGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (SciVal)


This article explores the links between conceptions of well-being, the way these are operationalized in empirical research, the knowledge produced and the policy process. The issues researched--poverty, inequality and subjective well-being--are in one sense universal and as such a focus of concerted global policy attention. Yet for people in developing countries around the world they are also a local reality. The argument here is that in researching well-being in a way that is to be policy relevant we must explore the relationships and tensions between global, universalist and local, context-specific analyses. If the global community is intent on effective policy making which can then be implemented to reduce poverty, then it must be founded in local understandings of how poverty is reproduced but this need not be incommensurate with universalist interpretations of these local realities. The article illustrates this using the Bath research programme on Well-being in Developing Countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-58
Number of pages22
JournalGlobal Social Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs (I380)
  • Migration (O150)
  • Human Development
  • Government Programs
  • General Welfare (I310)
  • Welfare and Poverty
  • Economic Development
  • Human Resources
  • Measurement and Analysis of Poverty (I320)
  • Income Distribution


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