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May 16, 2013

Equitable and sustainable well-being in Italy: the first BES report (2013)

What do we mean when we refer to societal well-being?

In order to define the essential elements of well-being in Italy, the National Council for Economics and Labour (Cnel) and the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat)  set up a “Steering Committee for the measurement of progress in the Italian society” composed of representatives from social partners and the civil society. Furthermore, Istat established a large and qualified Scientific Commission of experts from the various domains of societal well-being.

This organizational approach stemmed from the consideration that there are two essential elements for measuring progress:

  • the first, strictly political, relates to the contents of the concept of well-being;
  • the second, of a technical-scientific nature, concerns the measurement of the relevant concepts.

As a result, Cnel, a constitutional body representing the civil society (its members include representatives from social partners and the third sector) and Istat, an institution where experts operate in the measurement of the various economic, social and environmental phenomena, have combined their forces to reach a joint definition of the domains of well-being in Italy and a shared set of indicators to be used to define the state and progress of our country.

The concept chosen for this exercise was the one of “Equitable and Sustainable Well-being” and the project aimed at analysing the levels, time trends and distribution of its various components, in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses, as well as particular territorial imbalances or advantaged/disadvantaged social groups, considering them from an inter-generational point of view (sustainability).

The result of this effort, which places Italy in the forefront of the international panorama for the development of well-being indicators going “beyond GDP”, is described in the Bes 2013 report (view by clicking here), written in a language accessible to everyone.

The synthesis of the report and the trends on wellbeing are also available in English. Moreover the BES website provides a platform for the analysis of the Bes indicators and the body of statistical and methodological information developed during the project.


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