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GDP as a Measure of Economic Welfare

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  • Moshe Syrquin

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    Abstract

    Ever since the early days of National Income accounting we can observe periodic surges of demands to fix the measurement of GDP to better reflect progress, welfare or even happiness. In recent years even Presidents and Prime Ministers in Europe have joined the chorus of the discontent. In this paper I argue that the critique is mostly misguided. Welfare measurement has not been the objective of the GDP accounts especially since the late 1940s when National Accounts became a vehicle for applying Keynesian economics for, primarily, short run stabilization. I also argue that the search for a unique index of welfare, well-being, or happiness is a chimera.

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    File URL: http://www.icer.it/docs/wp2011/ICERwp03-11.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 03-2011.

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    Length: 11 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:03-2011

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    1. Simon Kuznets, 1972. "Foreword to "Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect Vol 7: Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems"," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect Vol 7: Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems, pages -11 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Simon Kuznets, 1934. "National Income, 1929-1932," NBER Chapters, in: National Income, 1929-1932, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Syrquin, M. & Chenery, H.B., 1989. "Patterns Of Development, 1950 To 1983," World Bank - Discussion Papers 41, World Bank.
    4. Solomon Fabricant, 1972. "Introduction to "Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect Vol 7: Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems"," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect Vol 7: Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems, pages -9--2 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Simon Kuznets, 1946. "Introduction to "National Income: A Summary of Findings"," NBER Chapters, in: National Income: A Summary of Findings, pages 1-2 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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