Neither dashboard nor 'mashup' indices: an empirical wealth approach as a pathway to a comprehensive measure of development
The article is composed of two sections. The first one is a critical review of the three main alternative indices to GDP which were proposed in the last decades – the Human Development Index (HDI), the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and the Happy Planet Index (HPI) – which is made on the basis of conceptual foundations, rather than looking at issues of statistical consistency or mathematical refinement as most of the literature does. The pars construens aims to propose an alternative measure, the composite wealth index, consistent with an approach to development based on the notion of composite wealth, which is in turn derived from an empirical common sense criterion. Arguably, this approach is suitable to be conveyed into an easily understandable and coherent indicator, and thus appropriate to track development in its various dimensions: simple in its formulation, the wealth approach can incorporate social and ecological goals without significant alterations in conceptual foundations, while reducing to a minimum arbitrary weighting.
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