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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

Webinar Discussion: Democratising Measurement: A Case Study from Well-Being Public Policy.

Webinar with Anna Alexandrova & Mark Fabian
6th April 2021, Tuesday, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm BST (GMT +1)

There is now widespread recognition that well-being, educational success, fairness, equality, poverty, etc. are value-laden. There is less agreement on a responsible way of measuring their value. This is a tricky issue for public policy because governments need effective measures for benchmarking, impact evaluation, and other forms of accountability, but would ideally like to leave value judgements to citizens. Our research explores the potential of coproduction mechanisms to chart a course through these dilemmas.

We'll present a case study from our work around coproducing a theory and measure/s of thriving for the national poverty charity Turn2Us. These outputs will inform their work in a variety of ways, including assessment criteria for giving grants and the charity's campaigning work in the social policy space. We'll explain our rationale for coproduction, discuss our preliminary results in comparison to other efforts underway in well-being public policy, and identify some of the lessons learned for applying coproduction in value-laden policy domains.

Our results indicate that 'off the shelf' theories and measures of value-laden concepts developed by experts often require substantial translation and tailoring to be suitable to applied policy. This underscores the need to develop more 'bottom up' approaches to measurement.

Anna Alexandrova is a Reader in Philosophy of Science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in University Cambridge and a Fellow of King's College, studying how scientists navigate morally charged and complex phenomena and the role of formal tools such as models and indicators in their scholarly and public work. Since 2018, Dr. Alexandrova is the Principal Investigator on Expertise Under Pressure project at the Centre for Humanities and Social Change, and up until recently served as a Programme Director in Philosophy and Ethics of AI at the Leverhulme Centre for Future of Intelligence.

Mark Fabian is a Research Associate (postdoc) at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy in the University of Cambridge. His research explores well-being from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a particular focus on the ethical and epistemological issues involved in translating well-being insights from psychological science into public policy.

Register here:


2021 Webinar Series: Multidimensional Well-Being: Concepts, Measurement, & Application
April – July 2021

The webinar series brings together and into conversation established scholars, junior researchers, and practitioners working to conceptualise, measure, and improve multidimensional well-being. It addresses and allows for discussion regarding both long-standing and contemporary issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of well-being, with a special focus on applications related to the Capability Approach.

General themes running through the series include concepts of well-being, philosophies of well-being measurement, methodological issues including formal procedures for multidimensional measurement, the role of participation and deliberation, empirical applications and challenges, policy uses and implications, and current research frontiers.

The series is hosted by a group of junior HDCA scholars and aims at providing a forum for exchanges and discussions between junior and senior researchers and practitioners, and in combining their competencies. All are welcome.

For the full webinar schedule, updates, and to register, please visit our website:

Upcoming Webinar Series Themes

1. Democratising Measurement: A Case Study from Well-Being Public Policy
Anna Alexandra & Mark Fabian
6th April, Tuesday, 11am BST (GMT +1)

2. Conceptualizing Well-Being
Ingrid Robeyns
19th April, Monday, 6.30pm BST (GMT +1)

3. Methodological Options and Challenges for Measuring Multidimensional Well-Being*

4. Participatory Approaches to Well-Being Measurement*

5. The Development and Application of Multidimensional Well-being Measures*

6. Multidimensional Well-Being Measures as Policy-Instruments*

7. Limitations and Frontiers: Concepts, Measures, and Applications*

* Presenter and event details TBC.

Questions/Suggestions? Contact the organizing committee:

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