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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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Bibliographic Info

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. 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).
  2. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt & Fabrice Murtin, 2010. "The Relationship Between Health and Growth: When Lucas Meets Nelson-Phelps," NBER Working Papers 15813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Erich Battistin & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 2007. "Why is Consumption More Log Normal Than Income? Gibrat's Law Revisited," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 671, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Anticipated and Unanticipated Wage Changes, Wage Risk, and Intertemporal Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 3628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. 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 2010-10, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  7. Susanto Basu & Luigi Pascali & Fabio Schiantarelli & Luis Serven, 2009. "Productivity, Welfare and Reallocation: Theory and Firm Level Evidence," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 728, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 12 Jul 2010.
  8. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  9. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  10. Ryan D. Edwards, 2008. "The Cost of Uncertain Life Span," NBER Working Papers 14093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2011. "The Laffer curve revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 305-327.
  12. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lee Ohanian & Andrea Raffo & Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Research Working Paper RWP 06-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
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  15. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
  16. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," NBER Working Papers 12082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-42, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Sabina Alkire, 2011. "Multidimensional Poverty and its Discontents," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp046, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  2. Rosanna Nisticò & Antonella Rita Ferrara, 2011. "Indicatori Di Benessere E Convergenza Tra Le Regioni: Un’Applicazione Al Caso Italiano," Working Papers 201113, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  3. Juncal Cuñado & Fernando Gracia, 2012. "Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 185-196, August.
  4. 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).
  5. Ryan D. Edwards, 2008. "The Cost of Uncertain Life Span," NBER Working Papers 14093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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 2012-10, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  7. Gordon Anderson & Oliver Linton & Teng Leo, 2012. "A polarization-cohesion perspective on cross-country convergence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 49-69, March.
  8. Merwan Engineer & Ian King, 2012. "Maximizing Human Development," Working Paper Series 30_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  9. Olavarrieta, Sergio & Villena, Mauricio G., 2014. "Innovation and business research in Latin America: An overview," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 489-497.
  10. Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Expected Longevities," CEPR Discussion Papers 9123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.

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