Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Measuring Well-Being: W3 Indicators to Complement GDP


Author Info

  • Marco Giesselmann
  • Richard Hilmer
  • Nico A. Siegel
  • Gert G. Wagner


Plenty of people in Germany, including politicians and researchers, believe that gross domestic product (GDP) is an outdated indicator of a society's prosperity. Therefore, at the end of 2010, the German Bundestag, the federal parliament, established a study commission (Enquete Kommission) tasked with developing an alternative to GDP for measuring growth, wealth, and quality of life. This commission has now submitted a proposal: to complement GDP with nine additional indicators, covering a wide range of areas such as the distribution of income, biodiversity, and life expectancy. Replacing gross domestic product with a single alternative index was rejected by the commission, however, since it is not possible to reduce citizens' very different wishes and expectations to "a common denominator." The ten indicators cover three dimensions of wellbeing - economy, ecology, and social wealth - and hence are called W3 indicators.2 This name, which emphasizes the equal importance of the three dimensions, is concise and memorable enough to position itself alongside GDP. A representative survey of registered voters conducted by DIW Berlin and TNS Infratest shows that citizens generally consider all the new indicators proposed by the commission to be important. Respondents ranked preserving "democracy and freedom" as the most relevant indicator and "further increasing life expectancy" as the least relevant. Average per capita income - as an indicator of gross domestic product - is rated as the second least relevant factor. Moreover, the study also shows that opinions on the importance of different indicators vary considerably across socio-economic groups.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its journal DIW Economic Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 3 (2013)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 10-19

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwdeb:2013-5-3

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Mohrenstra├če 58, D-10117 Berlin
Phone: xx49-30-89789-0
Fax: xx49-30-89789-200
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: GDP; GDP and beyond; quality of life; Germany; TNS Infratest; SOEP; . - W3 Indicators;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.



This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwdeb:2013-5-3. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.