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Guest lecture

Wellbeing Report seminar series: Wellbeing Approaches to Policy: The Capabilities Approach

Event series: 


Subjective wellbeing surveys are the powerhouse of wellbeing approaches to policy. They struggle, however, to give solid foundations for intergenerational wellbeing (the Easterlin Paradox). In this seminar, Professors Caroline Saunders and Paul Dalziel will focus on Amartya Sen’s capabilities theory, which is a complementary approach designed to address that gap. The presenters will draw on the international literature and their own research to explore how the capabilities approach understands wellbeing, how it focuses on access to diverse ‘capitals’, how it uses dashboards for policy, and how it emphasises that public policy should concentrate on its distinctive contributions to expanding capabilities for wellbeing.

About the presenters

Professors Caroline Saunders and Paul Dalziel are the Directors of the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit at Lincoln University. Caroline received the NZIER Economics Award in 2007, was President of the Agricultural Economics Society, 2018-2020, and is currently a member of the Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee.

Paul is currently New Zealand Lead for the European Union IURC programme and a member of the leadership team for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Aotearoa.In 2018, Palgrave Macmillan published Paul and Caroline’s open access book, Wellbeing Economics: The Capabilities Approach to Prosperity.

Material and video recording

Presenters' slides and a video recording of the presentation will be made available here shortly after the presentation. A transcript and captions for the video may take longer to prepare.

Wellbeing Report seminar series

In November 2022, Te Tai Ōhanga – The Treasury released the first wellbeing report Te Tai Waiora: Wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand 2022.

This online seminar is part of a Wellbeing Report programme of Guest lectures running in 2022 and 2023.

Last updated: 
Friday, 27 January 2023