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Beyond GDP? Welfare across Countries and Time

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  • Charles I. Jones
  • Peter J. Klenow

Abstract

We propose a simple summary statistic for a nation’s flow of welfare, measured as a consumption equivalent, and compute its level and growth rate for a broad set of countries. This welfare metric combines data on consumption, leisure, inequality, andmortality. Although it is highly correlatedwith per capita GDP, deviations are often economically significant: Western Europe looks considerably closer to U.S. living standards, emerging Asia has not caught up as much, and many African and Latin American countries appear farther behind. Each of the four components we introduce plays an important role in accounting for these differences.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16352.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16352

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  1. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-42, October.
  2. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  3. Lee Ohanian & Andrea Raffo & Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Long-Term Changes in Labor Supply and Taxes: Evidence from OECD Countries, 1956-2004," NBER Working Papers 12786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael Kremer & Jessica Leino & Edward Miguel & Alix Peterson Zwane, 2011. "Spring Cleaning: Rural Water Impacts, Valuation, and Property Rights Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 145-205.
  5. Luigi Pistaferri, 2003. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 729-754, July.
  6. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2006. "How Far Are We From the Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5657, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Erich Battistin & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 2009. "Why Is Consumption More Log Normal than Income? Gibrat's Law Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1140-1154, December.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt & Fabrice Murtin, 2011. "The Relationship Between Health and Growth: When Lucas Meets Nelson-Phelps," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, Università di Perugia, vol. 2(1).
  9. Basu, Susanto & Pascali, Luigi & Schiantarelli, Fabio & Serven, Luis, 2010. "Productivity, welfare and reallocation : theory and firm-level evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5226, The World Bank.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Charles J. Redlick, 2009. "Macroeconomic Effects from Government Purchases and Taxes," NBER Working Papers 15369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  12. Feyrer, James & Politi, Dimitra & Weil, David N., 2010. "The Economic Effects of Micronutrient Deficiency: Evidence from Salt Iodization in the United States," SIRE Discussion Papers, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) 2010-10, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  13. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Insurance and Opportunities: A Welfare Analysis of Labor Market Risk," NBER Working Papers 13673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri & Luigi Pistaferri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 1-14, January.
  15. Ryan D. Edwards, 2008. "The Cost of Uncertain Life Span," NBER Working Papers 14093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," IZA Discussion Papers 571, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
  18. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  19. Dimitra Politi & David N. Weil & James Feyrer, 2011. "The Economic Effects of Micronutrient Deficiency: Evidence from Salt Iodization in the United States," ESE Discussion Papers, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh 201, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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Cited by:
  1. Juan Cordoba & Marla Ripoll, 2012. "Life, Death and World Inequality," 2012 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 925, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Expected Longevities," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ryan Edwards, 2013. "The cost of uncertain life span," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1485-1522, October.
  4. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2012. "Should we sustain? And if so, sustain what? Consumption or the quality of life?," Working Papers, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics 1222, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Haan, Peter & Decoster, Andre, 2013. "Empirical welfare analysis with preference heterogeneity," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79815, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Juncal Cuñado & Fernando Gracia, 2012. "Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 185-196, August.
  7. Merwan Engineer & Ian King, 2010. "Maximizing Human Development," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series, The University of Melbourne 1111, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Rosanna Nisticò & Antonella Rita Ferrara, 2011. "Indicatori Di Benessere E Convergenza Tra Le Regioni: Un’Applicazione Al Caso Italiano," Working Papers, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica) 201113, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  9. Sabina Alkire, 2011. "Multidimensional Poverty and its Discontents," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp046, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  10. Andrew Sharpe & Brendon Andrews, 2013. "An Assessment of Weighting Methodologies for Composite Indicators: The case of the Index of Economic Well-being," CSLS Research Reports, Centre for the Study of Living Standards 2012-10, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  11. Gordon Anderson & Oliver Linton & Teng Leo, 2012. "A polarization-cohesion perspective on cross-country convergence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 49-69, March.
  12. Gahramanov, Emin & Tang, Xueli, 2013. "A mixed blessing of lifespan heterogeneity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 142-153.
  13. Olavarrieta, Sergio & Villena, Mauricio G., 2014. "Innovation and business research in Latin America: An overview," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 489-497.
  14. Bargain, Olivier & Decoster, André & Dolls, Mathias & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011. "Welfare, Labor Supply and Heterogeneous Preferences: Evidence for Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 6102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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