Using happiness scales to inform policy: Strong words of caution

Timothy N. Bond, Kevin Lang, 4 July 2014

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Economists have long known that GDP is an imperfect measure of well-being. In addition to missing nonmarket transactions, it ignores environmental degradation, the quality of social interactions, and many other outcomes of economic interest. But at least since Easterlin (1974) some economists have gone further, and challenged the view that per capita GDP and well-being are positively related.

Topics: Frontiers of economic research
Tags: GDP measurement, happiness, wellbeing

Why GDP just doesn’t add up

Diane Coyle interviewed by Viv Davies, 9 Jun 2014

As a measure of economic activity, GDP is imperfect, but no more so than any single indicator of the whole economy. Yet public policy debate about the economy is often focused on GDP growth to the exclusion of other important considerations. This Vox Talk argues the case for a ‘dashboard’ of alternative indicators that, in addition to measuring economic activity, could also capture social welfare, sustainability and the benefits of innovation.

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Topics: Frontiers of economic research
Tags: GDP measurement, happiness, hedonic price index

Measuring economic progress

Diane Coyle, 17 February 2014

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The debate about how best to measure economic activity dates back to well before the ‘invention’ of GDP by Richard Stone and others during the Second World War (Stone 1947). The earliest attempt was William Petty’s 1665 estimate of income and expenditure in England and Wales, followed by a variety of other approaches in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Topics: Frontiers of economic research
Tags: GDP measurement, happiness, hedonic price index

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