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Evaluating Alternatives to GDP as Measures of Social Welfare/Progress


  • Jeroen van den Bergh
  • Miklós Antal


Proposed alternatives to GDP as a measure of social welfare or human progress are briefly evaluated. Four main categories are considered, namely ISEW and GPI based on corrections of GDP, sustainable or green(ed) GDP, genuine savings/investments and composite indexes. All these alternatives turn out to suffer from various shortcomings. Nevertheless, several of them represent a considerable improvement over GDP information in approximating social welfare. This gives support to the idea that we should not wait to give less importance and attention to GDP (per capita) information in public decision-making until a perfect alternative indicator is available.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeroen van den Bergh & Miklós Antal, 2014. "Evaluating Alternatives to GDP as Measures of Social Welfare/Progress," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 56, WWWforEurope.
  • Handle: RePEc:feu:wfewop:y:2014:m:3:d:0:i:56

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:feu:wfedel:y:2016:m:2:d:0:i:11 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mikulas Luptácik & Eduard Nežinský & Martin Lábaj, 2015. "Drivers of the change in social welfare," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 105, WWWforEurope.
    3. repec:feu:wfedel:y:2016:m:2:d:0:i:12 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Olha Hlushchenko, 2016. "Well-being funding: essence and estimation method," RIVISTA DI STUDI SULLA SOSTENIBILITA', FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(2), pages 45-55.
    5. Karl Aiginger, 2016. "New Dynamics for Europe: Reaping the Benefits of Socio-ecological Transition. Synthesis Report Part I," WWWforEurope Deliverables series 11, WWWforEurope.
    6. Strunz, Sebastian & Schindler, Harry, 2017. "Identifying barriers towards a post-growth economy: A political economy view," UFZ Discussion Papers 6/2017, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).

    More about this item


    Composite indicators; economic growth; externalities; genuine savings; green GDP; happiness; informal sector; information failure; ISEW; status goods; sustainable income;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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