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Is GDP a Relevant Social Welfare Indicator? A Savers-Spenders Theory Approach

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  • Thibault, Emmanuel

Abstract

The use of GDP as the main index of progress and welfare of a country has been the subject of a long debate amongst economists. Using and extending the saversspenders theory recently popularized by Mankiw (2000, AER), we analyze the theoretical relationships between GDP and the welfare of a society. This analysis is undertaken using several different overlapping generations models which all take into account the great heterogeneity of consumer behavior observed in the data (different labor supply choices, different degrees of altruism and/or different degrees of impatience to consume). The results indicate that GDP (per capita) is often a relevant index and is always a decent social welfare indicator.

Suggested Citation

  • Thibault, Emmanuel, 2016. "Is GDP a Relevant Social Welfare Indicator? A Savers-Spenders Theory Approach," TSE Working Papers 16-651, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:30477
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Growth models; Heterogeneity of preferences; Welfare; Product accounts and wealth;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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