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On the measurement of social progress and well being: some further thoughts

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Abstract

Two years after the delivery of the report on The Measurement of Economic Performances and Social Progress (Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi),this paper provides some further reflections on the subject. Since 2008, when the work of the Commission began, the world has experienced several dramatic events which all call into question our measurement systems and the policies which were grounded on them: the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the grave events in Japan, the Sovereign debt crisis, and the revolutions in the Arabic world. In particular, the Japanese earthquake and its aftermath underlines three central shortcomings of our metrics: the measurement of the economic product,the measurement of well being, and the measurement of sustainability. For economists, these concerns are especially important, because we often rely on statistical (econometric analyses) to make inferences about what are good policies. Those inferences are only as reliable as the metrics that they are based on. Our statistical systems should tell us whether or not what we are doing is sustainable, economically, environmentally, politically, or socially and whether proposed policies will in fact enhance well-being . There would be little sense in pursuing policies aimed at increasing some widely used metric like GDP ifsuch policies lead to a decrease in well being.

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  • Jean Paul Fitoussi & Joseph Stiglitz, 2011. "On the measurement of social progress and well being: some further thoughts," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-19, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1119
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    File URL: http://www.ofce.sciences-po.fr/pdf/dtravail/WP2011-19.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Sarracino, Francesco & Gosset, Andrea, 2015. "The non-economic outcomes of social entrepreneurship in Luxembourg," MPRA Paper 69347, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Keywords

    1- Economic indicators 2- Gross Domestic Products 3-Social indicators 4- Well being 5- Sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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