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.


Trust and social capital

This chapter discusses the role of trust for social progress and people’s well-being. It reviews the different definitions and types of trust, including rational trust, moral trust and social preferences, as well as the state of existing statistics on trust. The chapter argues in favour of the definition of trust provided by the OECD Guidelines on Measuring Trust as “a person’s belief that another person or institution will act consistently with their expectations of positive behaviour”. It looks at why trust matters for the well-being of people and the country where they live, and assesses the available evidence on its role in supporting social and economic relations. It analyses trust between individuals (inter-personal trust) and trust in institutions (institutional trust) as determinants of economic growth, social cohesion and well-being, as a crucial component for policy reform and for the legitimacy and sustainability of any political system. Finally, the chapter stresses the importance of integrating survey measures of trust into the routine data collection activities of National Statistical Offices, and of implementing quasi-experimental measures of trust and other social norms based on representative samples of the population as a complement to traditional survey questions.




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