Assessing & reforming existing policies
Which policies are no longer serving your vision? Which policies are harmful or support wellbeing?
To assess and adapt existing policies (e.g. regulations, social services, taxes, etc.) to be in line with your wellbeing priorities
Before developing new policies and programmes to shift the structure of your economy to promote wellbeing, it is important to assess the alignment of your existing policies with your wellbeing strategy and goals. This can help you to not only better understand which policies have been working well and why, but also support stronger policy coherence, which is key to ensuring you are not wasting resources on competing or conflicting policies or programmes.
The process of re-aligning policies will require consideration of which existing policies need to be phased out, adjusted, or expanded in order to achieve your wellbeing goals. By adjusting your existing policies first, you will maximise the impact of public resources and facilitate better coordination towards the achievement of your wellbeing goals.
Selecting policies for a wellbeing economy
Vertical and horizontal policy coherence
Using a wellbeing lens
Iceland has made gender equality a core aspect of its policies at home and abroad. This has required the country to revisit some of its legislation and social structures to give women equal freedom and considerations in society.
In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to ratify its constitution to include the rights of nature. In this constitution, "Pachamama", or mother nature, has the right to existence, and the right to the restpect for its "maintenance, regeneration of its life cycles, structures, functions, and evolutionary processes.
In 2007, the Austrian government lowered the voting age from 18 to 16 to increase the participation of youth in its democracy. The government decided that young people should have "the right to be involved in political decision-making processes and to decide on their living space and their future".
- Develop an inventory of policy instruments from across agencies and levels of government, and organise based on their alignment with wellbeing goals and identify policies that are cross-cutting.
- Move beyond traditional ‘cost-benefit’ analysis to assess policies in terms of their contribution to current and future wellbeing (using multi-criteria or value-based assessments such as racial equity budgeting tools).
- Evaluate regulations alongside power assessments and consider if they are protecting the rights of the most vulnerable or only of the most powerful in society.
- Assess incentives and disincentives in terms of whether they encourage and reward the activities and behaviours most important for creating collective wellbeing.
- Use participatory budgeting or other democratic methods to assess whether public provisions align with public wellbeing priorities and values.
- Use systems analysis to map your existing policies and consider how they inter-relate with one another to foster wellbeing behaviours and activities.
- Assess the current policy package to identify policies (or group of policies) that have worked well and understand why.
- Assess options and alternative policy impacts by mapping wellbeing effects across dimensions, groups, and over time.
- Consider the external policy environment or constraints that may be limiting impact on wellbeing and develop strategies for engaging and advocating for change in external policy discussions.
- When adapting or expanding policies, ensure communities can adapt and align policies to their local context.
- Phase out existing policies that are constraining desirable behaviours. This requires that you recognise the role of wellbeing economy policy as empowering society to realise their collective objectives rather than dictating behaviour.
- Acknowledge the need to develop short-term policies to buffer impacts on those who are negatively impacted by the transition to a wellbeing economy.