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International Comparisons of Trends in Economic Well-being

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  • Lars Osberg

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  • Andrew Sharpe

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Abstract

This objective of this paper is to develop an index of economic well being for selected OECD countries for the period 1980 to 1996 and to compare trends in economic well being. We argue that the economic well being of a society depends on the level of average consumption flows, aggregate accumulation of productive stocks, inequality in the distribution of individual incomes and insecurity in the anticipation of future incomes. However, the weights attached to each component will vary, depending on the values of different observers. This paper argues that public debate would be improved if there is explicit consideration of the aspects of economic well-being obscured by average income trends and if the weights attached to these aspects were made visible and were open for discussion. The four components of economic well-being which are identified are: (1) effective per capita consumption flows, which includes consumption of marketed goods and services, and effective per capita flows of unmarketed goods and services and changes in leisure; (2) net societal accumulation of stocks of productive resources, including net accumulation of tangible capital and housing stocks, net accumulation of human capital and R investment, environmental costs, and net change in level of foreign indebtedness; (3) income distribution, as indicated by the Gini index of inequality, and depth and incidence of poverty; and (4) economic security from unemployment, ill health, single parent poverty and poverty in old age. Although estimates of the overall index and the subcomponents are presented for 1980- 1996 for 14 countries, the limited number of years for micro-data files from the Luxembourg Income Study make some estimates problematic - hence our major focus is trends in economic well-being in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden. (Additional tables and charts in 242a.pdf.)
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  • Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2002. "International Comparisons of Trends in Economic Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 349-382, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:58:y:2002:i:1:p:349-382
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1015748220026
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    15. Lars Osberg & Kuan Xu, 2000. "International Comparisons of Poverty Intensity: Index Decomposition and Bootstrap Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 51-81.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Osberg, 2009. "Measuring Economic Security in Insecure Times: New Perspectives, New Events, and the Index of Economic Well-being," CSLS Research Reports 2009-12, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    2. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2003. "Human Well-being and Economic Well-being: What Values Are Implicit in Current Indices?," CSLS Research Reports 2003-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Lars Osberg, 2003. "Long Run Trends in Income Inequality in the United States, UK, Sweden, Germany and Canada: A Birth Cohort View," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 121-141, Winter.
    4. Géraldine Thiry, 2015. "Beyond GDP: Conceptual Grounds of Quantification. The Case of the Index of Economic Well-Being (IEWB)," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 313-343, April.
    5. Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Sustainability and well-being indicators," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 30851, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Timothy M. Smeeding, 2002. "Globalization, Inequality, and the Rich Countries of the G-20: Evidence from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 48, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    7. David E.A. Giles & Hui Feng, 2003. "Testing For Convergence in Output and in 'Well-Being' in Industrialized Countries," Econometrics Working Papers 0302, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    8. Berloffa, Gabriella & Modena, Francesca, 2012. "Economic well-being in Italy: The role of income insecurity and intergenerational inequality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 751-765.
    9. Martínez Roget, Fidel & Murias Fernández, Pilar, 2011. "Pension Systems And Economic Well-Being Of Older People: A Synthetic Indicator For The Oecd Countries," Revista Galega de Economía, University of Santiago de Compostela. Faculty of Economics and Business., vol. 20(ex).
    10. Jerzy Michalek & Nana Zarnekow, 2012. "Application of the Rural Development Index to Analysis of Rural Regions in Poland and Slovakia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(1), pages 1-37, January.
    11. Gail Pacheco & Stephanie Rossouw & Joshua Lewer, 2013. "Do Non-Economic Quality of Life Factors Drive Immigration?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 1-15, January.
    12. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2011. "Beyond GDP: Measuring Economic Well-Being in Canada and the Provinces, 1981-2010," CSLS Research Reports 2011-11, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    13. Michael Hagerty & Robert Cummins & Abbott Ferriss & Kenneth Land & Alex Michalos & Mark Peterson & Andrew Sharpe & Joseph Sirgy & Joachim Vogel, 2001. "Quality of Life Indexes for National Policy: Review and Agenda for Research," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 1-96, July.
    14. Emanuele Blasi & Maria Nucera & Clara Cicatiello & Silvio Franco, 2013. "Socio-demographic Components of Eudaimonic Well-Being: A Survey in an Italian Province," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 451-470, August.
    15. G. Madonia & M. Cracolici & M. Cuffaro, 2013. "Exploring Wider Well-Being in the EU-15 Countries: An Empirical Application of the Stiglitz Report," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 117-140, March.
    16. Rahman, Tauhidur & Mittelhammer, Ron C. & Wandschneider, Philip, 2005. "Measuring the Quality of Life across Countries: A Sensitivity Analysis of Well-being Indices," WIDER Working Paper Series 006, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:300-:d:128463 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2011. "Moving from a GDP-Based to a Well-Being Based Metric of Economic Performance and Social Progress: Results from the Index of Economic Well-Being for OECD Countries, 1980-2009," CSLS Research Reports 2011-12, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

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