For Good Measure

Advancing Research on Well-being Metrics Beyond GDP

image of For Good Measure

The 2009 Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (“Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi” Commission) concluded that we should move away from over-reliance on GDP when assessing a country’s health, towards a broader dashboard of indicators that would reflect concerns such as the distribution of well-being and sustainability in all of its dimensions. This book includes contributions from members of the OECD-hosted High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, the successor of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, and their co-authors on the latest research in this field. These contributions look at key issues raised by the 2009 Commission that deserved more attention, such as how to better include the environment and sustainability in our measurement system, and how to improve the measurement of different types of inequalities, of economic insecurity, of subjective well-being and of trust.

A companion volume Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance presents an overview by the co-chairs of the High Level Expert Group, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Martine Durand of the progress accomplished since the 2009 report, of the work conducted by the Group over the past five years, and of what still needs to be done.



Executive Summary

Assessing the progress of society presents a range of challenges: conceptual challenges (e.g. the inevitable trade-off between trying to be comprehensive and the limits in people’s capacity to deal with too much information); technical challenges (e.g. how to combine information across micro-data sets dealing with different issues, how to integrate micro-data informing on inequalities with macro-economic accounts dealing with averages); and organisational (e.g. how to improve coordination among different data-collectors, how to balance international harmonisation and local accountability, how to improve timeliness of existing data). The High-Level Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (HLEG), hosted by the OECD from 2013 to 2018, addressed some of these challenges, building on the report of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission published in 2009. The aim remains the same – help to develop the means to describe progress and, in this way, to contribute to better policies. This book consists of a collection of authored chapters dealing with those issues that the HLEG felt deserved further attention and have thus been at the core of the Group’s deliberations over the past few years. A complementary report by the HLEG Chairs (J.E. Stiglitz, J.-P. Fitoussi and M. Durand, Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance) provides a broader overview of the issues discussed by the Group.


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