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GDP as a Measure of Economic Welfare

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  • Moshe Syrquin

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Abstract

Ever since the early days of National Income accounting we can observe periodic surges of demands to fix the measurement of GDP to better reflect progress, welfare or even happiness. In recent years even Presidents and Prime Ministers in Europe have joined the chorus of the discontent. In this paper I argue that the critique is mostly misguided. Welfare measurement has not been the objective of the GDP accounts especially since the late 1940s when National Accounts became a vehicle for applying Keynesian economics for, primarily, short run stabilization. I also argue that the search for a unique index of welfare, well-being, or happiness is a chimera.

Suggested Citation

  • Moshe Syrquin, 2011. "GDP as a Measure of Economic Welfare," ICER Working Papers 03-2011, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:03-2011
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    File URL: http://www.biblioecon.unito.it/biblioservizi/RePEc/icr/wp2011/ICERwp03-11.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simon Kuznets, 1934. "National Income, 1929-1932," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn34-1, June.
    2. Simon Kuznets, 1946. "Introduction to "National Income: A Summary of Findings"," NBER Chapters,in: National Income: A Summary of Findings, pages 1-2 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Syrquin, M. & Chenery, H.B., 1989. "Patterns Of Development, 1950 To 1983," World Bank - Discussion Papers 41, World Bank.
    4. Simon Kuznets, 1972. "Foreword to "Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect, Volume 7, Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems"," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect, Volume 7, Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems, pages -11 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Solomon Fabricant, 1972. "Introduction to "Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect, Volume 7, Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems"," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect, Volume 7, Quantitative Economic Research: Trends and Problems, pages -9--2 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Datta, Madhusudan & Neogi, Chiranjib & Sinha, Abhrajit, 2015. "Sectoral shares in Indian GDP: How to regard it?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-11.
    2. Husmann, Christine, 2016. "Marginality as a Root Cause of Poverty: Identifying Marginality Hotspots in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 420-435.

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