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Beyond GDP

Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance

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Metrics matter for policy and policy matters for well-being. In this report, the co-chairs of the OECD-hosted High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Martine Durand, show how over-reliance on GDP as the yardstick of economic performance misled policy makers who did not see the 2008 crisis coming. When the crisis did hit, concentrating on the wrong indicators meant that governments made inadequate policy choices, with severe and long-lasting consequences for many people. While GDP is the most well-known, and most powerful economic indicator, it can’t tell us everything we need to know about the health of countries and societies. In fact, it can’t even tell us everything we need to know about economic performance. We need to develop dashboards of indicators that reveal who is benefitting from growth, whether that growth is environmentally sustainable, how people feel about their lives, what factors contribute to an individual’s or a country’s success. This book looks at progress made over the past 10 years in collecting well-being data, and in using them to inform policies. An accompanying volume, For Good Measure: Advancing Research on Well-being Metrics Beyond GDP, presents the latest findings from leading economists and statisticians on selected issues within the broader agenda on defining and measuring well-being.

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Twelve recommendations on the way ahead in measuring well-being

This chapter argues that the success of the 2009 Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission report reflected its capacity to give expression to concerns that were widely shared on the inadequacies of the metrics that are currently used to guide policies, and to provide a vocabulary for linking streams of research that had, until then, been perceived as disconnected. While much remains to be done to translate the recommendations made by the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi report in statistical practice, this short chapter provides a set of 12 new recommendations building on the work done by the HLEG over the past 5 years.

English

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