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Alternative Measures of Well-Being

Listed author(s):
  • Romina Boarini


  • Åsa Johansson


  • Marco Mira d'Ercole


Registered author(s):

    This paper assesses if GDP per capita is an adequate proxy as a measure of wellbeing or whether other indicators are more suitable for this purpose. Within the national accounts framework, other better measures of economic resources exist, but they are closely correlated with GDP per capita and are not as readily available. Illustrative calculations to ?extend? measures of economic resources to include leisure time, the sharing of income within households and distributional concerns suggest that cross-country ranking of based on these indicators and GDP per capita are generally similar, although they have evolved differently over time. Across OECD countries, levels of most measures of specific social conditions are significantly related to GDP per capita while changes over time are not. However, survey based data on happiness and life-satisfaction across OECD countries are only weakly related to levels of GDP per capita. Overall, measures of GDP per capita and economic growth remain critical for any assessment of wellbeing but they need to be complemented with measures of other dimensions of well-being to get a comprehensive picture of well-being. Indicateurs alternatifs du bien-être Ce document évalue si le PIB par habitant est un indicateur indirect adéquat de mesure du bien-être ou si d'autres indicateurs sont plus appropriés à cet effet. Dans le cadre des comptes nationaux, il existe d'autres mesures des ressources économiques mais elles sont étroitement corrélées avec le PIB par habitant et ne sont pas si facilement disponibles. Si, à titre illustratif on « élargit » les mesures des ressources économiques de façon à prendre en compte le temps de loisir, le partage des revenus à l'intérieur des ménages et les aspects distributifs, on constate que le classement des pays sur la base de ces indicateurs et celui sur la base du PIB par habitant sont généralement similaires, même s'ils ont évolué différemment dans le temps. Dans les pays de l'OCDE, les niveaux de la plupart des mesures de résultats sociaux spécifiques sont liés de manière significative au PIB par habitant alors que les changements dans le temps ne le sont pas. Cependant les études basées sur les indicateurs de bonheur et de satisfaction de la vie dans les pays de l'OCDE sont très faiblement liées aux niveaux du PIB par habitant. De manière générale, les mesures de PIB par habitant et de la croissance économique demeurent cruciales pour toute évaluation du bien-être, mais il faut les compléter par des mesures reflétant d'autres dimensions du bien-être pour obtenir une image complète du bien-être.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 476.

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    Date of creation: 30 Jan 2006
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:476-en
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