"BES 2013" report provides comprehensive picture of Italy's state of well-being
The first "BES 2013" (Benessere Equo e Sostenibile) report on "Equitable and Sustainable Well-being" in Italy launched by the National Council for Economics and Labor (Cnel) and the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) analyzed the levels, time trends and distribution of 12 dimensions of current well-being. The effects of the economic crisis are found in various components. For example, 'work and life balance' typically tends to suffer at times of high unemployment and inequality in the access to employment. The dimension 'economic well-being' experiences higher poverty and deprivation. Nevertheless the level of overall life satisfaction remains high, though this fell in the last year. The report also found that people from the South are disadvantaged compared with people from the North and Central parts of Italy in most of the areas considered (e.g. lower life expectancy, lower level of education, higher unemployment rate, weaker social networks, poorer quality of social services).
Read a summary (pdf, 1 MB).
Read the full report (in Italian, pdf, 6.63 MB).
European Commission sees an important role for indicators beyond GDP in relation to elaborating Sustainable Development Goals
In the Communication "A Decent Life for All: Ending Poverty and Giving the World a Sustainable Future" the European Commission proposes a global framework to address the two interlinked challenges of eradicating poverty and ensuring a sustainable development. In this respect the Commission points to the role of indicators beyond GDP and confirms continuing developing such indicators.
Read section 4.1 of Communication on "A Decent Life for All: Ending poverty and Giving the World a Sustainable Future" (pdf, 180 KB).
Is it possible to quantify happiness?
Development indicators tend to stick very closely to reality. They are however sometimes quite remote from what populations actually consider "better living conditions". If we move away from the paradigm according to which more money automatically results in increased happiness, the question that arises is the following: what is it that makes us happy?
Read the full article in the Belgian newspaper La Libre (in French).
Measuring Inequalities post-2015: Inequalities Consultation recommends a Multidimensional Poverty Index
The Synthesis Report of the Inequalities Consultation conducted by UNICEF and UN Woman put forward recommendations on indicators of inequality for the future global development framework succeeding the Millennium Development Goals. They emphasized a Multidimensional Poverty Index as an appropriate tool to monitor changes in the circumstances of different social groups, which enables highlighting the poorest of the poor as well.
Read an overview and key messages from the report (pdf, 0.4 MB).
Read the synthesis report (pdf, 1.91 MB).
Read the blog entry of Sabina Alkire (Director of Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative).
Measuring impacts on ecosystem services - a guide for business
The Business of a Better World (BSR) network released the report "Measuring and Managing Corporate Performance in an Era of Expanded Disclosure: A Review of the Emerging Domain of Ecosystem Services Tools." The report offers an assessment and overview of current ecosystem services tools and emphasizes the importance of integrating ecosystem services into corporate decision-making processes.
Read an overview.
Read the report (pdf, 1.37 MB).
Study Commission of the German Bundestag proposes set of ten indicators to measure societal welfare
The Study Commission "growth, well-being and quality of life" recommended that societal welfare should no longer be measured on the basis of GDP alone. Three dimensions, material wealth, ecology and social aspects including social inclusion, should form the basis of future measurement of societal welfare. The Study Commission adopted a set of ten indicators that reflect these three dimensions and include GDP, income distribution and public debt (for material wealth), employment, education, health and freedom (for social inclusion) and GHG emissions, nitrogen surplus and biodiversity (for ecology).
However, this set is not supported by all members of the Study Commission. For example, the Green Party believes that a "well-being compass" with only four indicators would be easier to communicate from a political perspective.
Read short article on the results on the website of the Bundestag (in German).
Read an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) (in German).
Read an article in "der Zeit" (in German).
Read the full report of the Study Commission (in German, pdf, 4.04 MB).
GDP not suited to measure progress in a sustainable economic growth model
An article published in the Guardian argues that GDP growth is an incomplete and potentially misleading indicator of wellbeing because it fails to value factors that contribute to our well-being, such as community, security or the quality of our environment. The use of economic growth in terms of GDP as a measure of progress is based on the wrong assumption that resource supplies will forever be plentiful and is also the result of the inadequate valuation of resources in our accounting systems.
Read the full article on the Guardian's website.
Measuring Progress: Why one size won't fit all
John Hall, former manager of the OECD "Global project on measuring the progress of societies", emphasized the value of both composite indicators of progress and sets of indicators. The composite indicators are good to summarize a complicated set of data, the indicator sets enable a broader view on well-being. Hall stated that "different approaches and different indicators are neither better nor worse than each other. They are all made to measure, but one size will not fit all purposes."
Read the Blog Entry of John Hall.
EU Presidencies continue working on measuring progress beyond GDP
The future Irish, Lithuanian and Greek Presidencies released their 18 month programme for the next 3 periods of the Council Presidency. Concerning environmental issues they "will be engaged at international level in actions to" develop "sustainable development goals. [ ] Moreover, the Presidencies will also pursue other important EU priorities" to advance the "work on developing indicators to complement GDP".
Read the programme of the Council (1 January 2013 - 30 June 2014, page 92) (pdf, 471 KB).
Second national welfare index for Germany shows an increasing polarization in living conditions between population groups
The "NAWI-D index", published by the Ipsos-Institute, is based on a barometer that captures the conditions that Germans consider important for their current welfare and distinguishes economic, individual, social and ecological welfare. The second survey - conducted in September 2012 - finds that there is an increasing polarisation in living conditions between population groups such as young and old or male and female. The young, educated and urban population group lives with the feeling it can't do with its life what it wants. Men and women seem to live in different 'welfare worlds' - while for the former securing their living standard and material consumption is more important, for the latter keeping the same quality of life and good relationship to family and relatives seems to be key. For 2012, the overall index value for Germany is 42 out of 100 possible points.
Read the press release (in German, pdf, 72 KB).
Declines of quality of life in all EU Member States, alarming levels in some, European Quality of Life Survey says
Declines of over 20% in levels of optimism and happiness are reported in some countries across the EU and over a third of people indicate deterioration in their financial situation over the past five years. These results, from Eurofound's third European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), largely reflect - with some interesting exceptions - the economic reality, with highest optimism levels reported in Denmark, Sweden and lowest levels in Greece, Italy, and Portugal.
Read more about the Eurofound survey.
Access the 3rd European Quality of Life Survey.
EC proposal for a 7th EAP foresees a range of actions to continue the beyond GDP agenda
The Commission's proposal outlines a range of actions to continue the work on indicators to monitor societal progress which complement and go beyond GDP. According to the document, this would involve improving the valuation of environmental goods, further efforts to measure the value of our ecosystems and the costs of their depletion and stepping up work to develop a system of environmental accounts including physical and monetary accounts for natural capital and ecosystem services. It recognises in particular the importance of the integration of economic indicators with environmental and social indicators, including natural capital accounting, in order to secure investment for environment and climate policy and get the prices right. The draft programme is now being discussed with the European Parliament and the Council of European Union.
Read the Commission's proposal (all EU languages, pdf, 435 KB), see in particular priority objective 6 (paragraphs 80 to 82).
New EU-wide report reveals wide variations in consequences of economic restructuring for employees and its effects on their life satisfaction
Eurofound's report "After Restructuring: Labour markets, working conditions and life satisfaction", provides a comprehensive analysis of the consequences of restructuring for the individual employee and the implications for their life satisfaction. More specifically, it examines which employees lost their job at the onset of the economic crisis, which of them found a new job and how both job loss and subsequent re-employment impacted on their overall life situation and satisfaction.
Read more about the report.
Download the full report (110 pages, pdf, 3,2 MB).
2012 report of the Canadian Index of Well-being reveals Canadians' well-being is on the decline
The second report of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) shows that in the 17 years from 1994 to 2010, Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by a robust 28.9% (on average 1.5% p.a.), while the quality of life of Canadians only improved by a very modest 5.7% (on average 0.3% p.a.). The index uncovers that when Canada's economy was thriving, Canadians saw only modest improvements in their overall quality of life, but when the economy faltered with the recession in 2008, wellbeing took a disproportionate step backward. While some areas important to quality of life have improved (community vitality, democratic engagement, education) other have witnessed important deterioration (environment, leisure and culture). The authors call the gap between the country's economic performance as measured by GDP and the well-being of citizens "unacceptably large" and ask whether the government truly responds to the needs and values of Canadians.
Read more about the 2012 CIW.
Read the full report (82 pages, pdf, 4.85 MB).
Chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority calls into question GDP as a measure of happiness and welfare
In his book Economics After the Crisis - Objectives and Means, Adair Turner, Chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority, challenges our way of measuring wealth, calling into question the use of GDP which "measures the volume of marketed output, not its quality" whereas quality is chiefly important for satisfaction. He questions that the object of policy should be to maximise GDP per head given that above a quite low per capita income threshold, it doesn't deliver increased happiness or welfare. He goes on to argue that, given the evidence that inequality within countries matters for happiness, it should be given more consideration in policy-decisions.
Read the Times Literary Supplement's review of the book.
Read a short presentation of the book of the website of The MIT Press.
Concluding statement of the 4th OECD World Forum on "Measuring Well-being for Development and Policy Making" published
The statement considers the conference was an opportunity to "discuss what makes for a good life independently of where we live" and acknowledges that "beyond material conditions, people are also concerned about the quality of their life" and "the sustainability of natural resources, and have expectations for better governance and more responsive institutions." The statement also highlighted the relevance conceptual framework developed by OECD, that distinguishes between current well-being (material conditions and quality of life) and its sustainability (preservation of economic, human, social and environmental assets). The 5th OECD World Forum will be held in 2015.
Read the concluding statement (pdf, 273 KB).
Presentation summarizing the main outcomes of the forum (pdf, 214 KB).
16. to 19.10.2012
Key message of the 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy: Well-being measurement needs to be at the heart of policy-making
Policy makers and experts discussed the progress and improvements required to better monitor and analyze our changing societies at the four day conference. "Our metrics are important not just because they tell us how we are doing, but because they serve as guides in policy-making" said Joseph Stiglitz.
Read the news release.
16. to 19.10.2012
Interviews with delegates of the 4th OECD World Forum in Delhi
The website of the multi-country research project Development Progress provides interviewed a number of interviews with delegates to obtain their views on the conference and on the debates regarding the measurement of well-being and sustainability. Jeffrey Sachs commented that "If you're not scared, you're not well informed".
Listen to the interviews:
Emma Samman (Researcher at Overseas Development Institute)
Jeffrey Sachs (University Professor and President of the Earth Institute at Columbia)
Alison Evans (Director of Overseas Development Institute)
Allister McGregor (Team Leader at the Institute of Development Studies)
David McNair (Head of Growth, Equity and Livelihoods at Save the Children)
Enrico Giovannini (President ISTAT)
Joseph Stiglitz (Professor at Columbia University)
Duncan Green (Author and Senior Strategic Adviser at Oxfam GB's)
European Commissioner emeta stresses importance of statistics for effective policy making and development at the 4th OECD World Forum
In his speech Algirdas emeta highlighted the role of statistics in measuring and monitoring policies. He urged European statisticians "to further develop indicators for the better measurement of quality of life, well-being, environmental sustainability and inequality reduction."
Read the speech (pdf, 41 KB).
2nd Growth in Transition Conference discussed "Measuring Prosperity & Quality of Life" on 9 Oct 2012
The international conference "Growth in Transition" took place in Vienna from the 8th to the 10th October. One of the sessions dealt with the possibilities and limitations in measuring prosperity and quality of life and their implications for policy-making. In the workshop that was organized by the Ecosocial Forum and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, a new study on the quality of life in Austria was presented showing the importance of the eleven components of the OECD's Better Life Index for Austrians. Highest rated are health, life satisfaction and safety.
Read more on the Growth in Transition Conference, Vienna, 8 to 10 October 2012:
Download the workshop program (in German, pdf, 78 KB).
UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology publishes briefing on Measuring National Wellbeing
This POSTnote is meant to respond to the increased interest in measuring and monitoring wellbeing at the individual, social group and national levels. It summarises the latest research on measuring national wellbeing, its components and causes, and examines some policy implications. It for example highlights that despite many conceptions of wellbeing, consensus is that the measures should incorporate many dimensions and must include more than one subjective or objective aspect.
Download the paper (pdf, 4 pages, 339 KB).
German Poverty and Wealth Report shows rising inequality in wealth
The latest draft of the German Government's "Poverty and Wealth Report" shows that on average Germans are getting richer. Data from 2008 confirm, that the private wealth is unevenly distributed between rich and poor and that this inequality increases (consequences of the financial crises are not reflected yet). In 2008 ten percent of households possessed more than half of total assets. The report considers net assets, comprising real estate, investments, land, or claims from company pensions.
Read more about the results of the "Poverty and Wealth Report" (in German) in the newspapers FTD and FAZ.
"Happiness Atlas 2012" finds German life satisfaction to be high
For the second time, and on behalf of German Post, the "Happiness Atlas" has been published. The study focuses on social factors such as trust in others and in social institutions. 13 German cities were also classified for the first time. The results show that despite of the euro crises life satisfaction remained at a stable level (7,0 points) from 2006 to 2011. The regional scale shows that highest satisfaction levels are once again reached in the Northwest, but the gap between East and West Germany is shrinking.
Read more on the German Happiness Atlas 2012 (in German).
Expert commission to German Chancellor calls for the systematic measurement and consideration of peoples well-being and societies sustainability
The expert commission Wealth, quality of life and progress recommended that political institutions prioritise general improvement in well-being over economic growth when taking political decisions. Other recommendations include the creation of a new institution tasked with monitoring all the factors contributing to current and future quality of life, the establishment of a citizen dialogue forum on quality of life for 2040 and the systematic assessment of impacts of new legislation and government programmes on well-being and sustainabiliy.
Download the full report (in German, PDF, 577 pages, 4.03 MB).
Read the Frankfurter Rundschaus article on the publication of report (in German).
In fighting the current economic crisis governments should consider the quality and sustainability of growth says deputy Secretary General of the OECD
In an article published in the Belgian newspaper L'Echo, Yves Leterme stresses that in the current economic context it is as important to take into account the quality and sustainability of growth as the evolution of GDP. He draws attention to the important public interest in OECD's better life initiative and highlights OECD's efforts towards supporting governments in using more inclusive measures.
Read article in L'Echo (in French).
Ben Bernanke voices support for well-being measurement
US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in a speech: "The ultimate purpose of economics, of course, is to understand and promote the enhancement of well-being. Economic measurement accordingly must encompass measures of well-being and its determinants."
Read Ben Bernanke's speech.
First annual results of David Cameron's happiness index published
The happiness index shows that average Briton's rate their 'life satisfaction as 7.4 out of 10. It also gives insights into how worthwhile Briton's find their activities, their anxiety levels and where the happier Briton's live. These are some of the results of the first Integrated Household Survey of 200,000 people aged 16 and over between April 2011 and March 2012. It was conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) as part of the Prime Minister's initiative, launched in 2010, to assess the well-being of the nation alongside economic data like GDP.
Read article from The Independent, UK.
Rio+ 20 outcome document calls for the launch of a programme of work for broader measures of progress
In Rio governments have recognized "the need for broader measures of progress to complement GDP in order to better inform policy decisions, and in this regard, we request the UN Statistical Commission in consultation with relevant UN System entities and other relevant organizations to launch a programme of work in this area building on existing initiatives" (§ 38).
Download the full Rio+20 outcome document (pdf, 392 KB).
European Commissioner Potočnik expresses support to the World Bank's WAVES initiative
In a speech given at a side event of the Rio+20 conference - the launch of the World Bank initiative on natural capital accounting - Janez Potočnik welcomed the ongoing development of eco-systems accounts. The European Commissioner also expressed interest to cooperate with others on improving the knowledge base and the evaluation of natural capital.
Read the speech.
UNDP committed to developing a new index of sustainable human development
In her opening statement for an UNDP Event on Measurement of Sustainable Development at Rio+20 Helen Clark, Administratorof UNDP , suggested that the Human Development Index could be a starting point for designing a more comprehensive measure of sustainable development. Work has begun within UNDP to explore options for an adjusted Human Development Index (HDI). The objective is to ensure that it captures more dimensions of sustainable development than the current version of the HDI.
Read Helen Clark's opening statement.
Massive show of support for action on natural capital accounting at Rio Summit
Fifty-seven countries, eighty-six private companies and the European Commission are supporting a communiqué that calls on governments, the UN system, international financial institutions and other international organizations to strengthen natural capital accounting to factor the value of natural assets like clean air, clean water, forests and other ecosystems in systems of national accounting. In addition, the 86 companies have pledged to integrate natural capital in business decision-making.
Read the full World Bank Press release.
Read the full list of countries, organisations and companies supporting the communiqué (pdf, 2,52 MB).
Inclusive Wealth Index paints a different picture of growth than GDP alone
UNEP and UNU-IHDP published the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) at Rio+20 Summit. The Index goes beyond GDP and HDI, assessing changes in produced, human and natural capital. The IWI showed that there were actually significantly lower growth rates than GDP, due to a decline in natural capital in some of the larger economies such as China, Brazil and the United States.
Read more about the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012.
Download the full report (pdf, 12,6 MB).
The Happy Planet Index 2012 report confirms that we are still not living on a happy planet
The 2012 report shows that no country is able to combine success across the three goals of high life expectancy, high experienced well-being and living within environmental limits. The Index, meant to be used as a "new measure of human progress", measures the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them. For the second time, Costa Rica tops the Happy Planet Index. Norway, in 29th place out of 151 countries, is the highest ranking Western European nation.
Read the full Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report (pdf, 3 MB).
Article on the Happy Planet Index 2012 on nef's website.
New version of OECD's "Your Better Life Index" launched
An updated version of "Your Better Life Index" was released at the 2012 OECD's annual Forum and Ministerial Meeting. It enables users to create their own index based on 11 topics and to compare their priorities to those of other users by country, age and gender. Two countries (Russia and Brazil) and new data on gender and inequality were added. Most visitors agree, independent of home country and gender, that health, education and life satisfaction are most important.
Read OECD press release.
Create Your Better Life Index.
New publication provides background on the concept of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNH)
The Centre for Bhutan Studies published "A Short Guide to Gross National Happiness Index", which provides information on the concept of GNH and its measurement. It concentrates on the 2010 GNH survey and the nine domains of the GNH Index. It also includes suggestions about how policy actions can be directed to increase GNH.
Download the full report (pdf, 104 pages, 3.11 MB).
Read the summary (pdf, 5 pages, 89 KB).
Read an article of the Life Beyond Growth Initiative.
Beyond GDP Website celebrates its 5th anniversary
www.beyond-GDP.eu started as a communications platform for the Beyond GDP conference in 2007. Meanwhile the website has established itself as an extensive information base around the theme of measuring progress more comprehensively.
Survey carried out in Italy confirms strong support for going "beyond GDP" among citizens
Within the initiative "Benessere Equo e Sostenibile (BES)" (fair and sustainable well-being) for measuring progress, the CNEL and ISTAT had launched, in 2011, a consultation on factors which influence quality of life. The results highlight that the factors considered most important are health, environment, education and training, and quality of public services - and confirm a broad consensus for moving beyond GDP.
Read the full report (in Italian, 15 pages, pdf, 451 kb).
Maryland (USA) launches new progress indicator
The State of Maryland uses the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), an aggregate of 26 individual indicators, to measure how development activities impact long-term prosperity. In addition to economic indicators, the GPI includes social and environmental indicators such as costs of pollution or the value of housework.
Results show that the GPI grew more slowly than GDP; in 2000, e.g. GDP estimates were nearly 50 percent higher than what's reported by the GPI.
An interactive GPI tool, launched in March 2012, allows policy-makers and citizens to forecast future scenarios themselves.
Read more about Maryland's Genuine Progress Indicator.
Explore the interactive GPI calculator.
EU Council of Ministers stresses the need to use, develop and agree on indicators that complement GDP
The Council Conclusions adopted on March 9, 2012 under the heading "RIO+20: Pathways to a Sustainable Future", recall "that gross domestic product (GDP) is mostly a measure of production and does not reflect issues such as environmental sustainability, the use of natural and human capital, resource efficiency and social inclusion". The conclusions also stress the need to "use, and where necessary develop and agree on, indicators that complement GDP and contribute to a more accurate picture of the inter-linkages between the environmental, economic and social aspects of wealth, welfare and well-being".
Read the full Council conclusions (7 pages, pdf, 57 KB).
Towards the Earth Summit in Rio: For the first time GDP limitations are seriously discussed
British experts in the field of alternative welfare measures expressed their views and expectations with regard to the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012. The discussion was part of the Earth Debates hosted by the Natural History Museum in London in the run-up to the Earth Summit.
Watch the debate with E. Benson (Green Economy Coalition), H. Ryder (Department for International Development), A. Simms (New Economics Foundation) and P. Simpson (Carbon Disclosure Project) and join the online debate.
OECD Secretary-General highlights the importance of beyond GDP metrics in Davos
Angel Gurria emphasized the importance of new measurement metrics for progress of societies and well-being at the World Economic Forum. The economic crisis has shown that well-being is essential for determining policies. A good measurement of this criterion helps governments to construct policies that lead to more inclusive and sustainable growth.
Read OECD press release.
Government leaders of the UN High Level Panel on Global Sustainability demand indicators going beyond GDP at Rio+20
A UN panel of government leaders and environment ministers advises the international community not to see GDP as the sole measure of progress. In their recently published report, which identifies priorities for the Rio Summit in June 2012, they call for an index of sustainable development - or a set of sustainability indicators to be developed by 2014 and suggest appointing a technical task force to this end.
Read the overview of the report (pdf, 785 KB) or download the full report (pdf, 2,7 MB).
European Trade Unions rethink economic growth
The European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) invited to the workshop "Beyond GDP? Social Progress in the aftermath of the crisis". The latest research on how to measure social progress informed current debates on the economic policies in Europe.
Date and place of the workshop: 29 March, 2012, Brussels.
Find more information on the work shop.
German chancellor is seeking advice on measuring progress and quality of life
German chancellor Angela Merkel announced a Dialogue on Germanys future. As part of the dialogue, a working group of experts deals with the question of how progress and quality of life can be measured. Results are expected by Autumn 2012.
Read more on the dialogue (in German).
The politics of positivity: Why is the Government measuring our happiness levels?
Statistics that measure how content we all are might not be as silly as they sound, argues sociologist William Davies.
Read the newspaper article from The Independent, UK.
Andrew Simms advises to adopt the Happy Planet Index instead of GDP as welfare indicator
Andrew Simms from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) argues that quality of life should be measured by subjective happiness and use of resources and not by economic growth. The former two indicators are components of the Happy Planet Index, which Simms and his colleagues have developed at the NEF.
Read the TAZ article (in German).
More information on the Happy Planet Index at the nef webpage.
CIRET enters the beyond GDP debate
At its 31st conference on the use of survey data for economic research the Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys (CIRET) has the special topic Measurement beyond GDP the Use of Surveys. The conference will be held in Vienna from 5 to 8 September 2012.
Download the call for papers (pdf, 55 KB).
The pros and cons of an encompassing wellbeing index
Referring to the Canadian Iindex of Wellbeing and similar measures Donato Speroni disusses the pros and cons of an all-encompassing "happiness-index" and its usefulness as an alternative to GDP.
Read the newspaper article from Corriere Della Sera (in Italian / in English).
German Center for Societal Progress updates Progress Index
In December the German Center for Societal Change released an update of its Progress Indicator. The indicator is composed of income, health, education and environment. The results based on data from 1970 to 2009 show that among 22 countries Scandinavia, Switzerland and Japan progressed the most.
More information on the index is available here (in German) and in an interactive map on the institute's homepage.
British Office of National Statistics says Britons are happy
At the request of UK's Prime Minister David Cameron Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been measuring the nation's happiness. On a scale of 1 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied) the British rated their 'life satisfaction' at a 7.4.
Read the newspaper article in the Guardian.
Measurement of Progress in Italian Society first deliverables
The initiative "Measurement of Progress in Italian Society", set up jointly by ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) and CNEL (National Council of Economy and Labour), has delivered the first results of the project BES- Benessere Equo e Sostenibile (fair and sustainable well-being). In a public consultation all Italians are called to express their opinion on the 12 chosen quality-of-life dimensions. By the end of 2012, the first report on overall quality of life in Italy is going to be released.
Find more information (in Italian).
African stakeholders will prepare for OECDs 4th World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy
At the African Conference on Measuring Well-Being and Fostering the Progress of Societies stakeholders from the academic and statistics communities, as well as from public and social actors, will discuss how to overcome the challenges national statistical systems face in Africa and how best to use better well-being measures in evidence based policy making. The outcomes of the conference will form the African contributions to the 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, to be held in New Delhi, India on 16-19 October 2012.
Read the announcement of the conference (19-21 April 2012 in Rabat, Morocco).
4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge, and Policy announced
OECD announced the 4th World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge, and Policy - Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making being held in New Delhi, India, from 16 to 19 October 2012.
Read more on the OECD website.
2011 Human Development Report published
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released the 2011 edition of the Human Development Report. It focuses on environmental sustainability and equity discussing how environmental degradation adversely affects the poor and aggravates inequality. It ranks countries according to the Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality-Adjusted HDI, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.
Read the HDR on the UNDP website.
How are Canadians really doing? New Canadian Index of Well-being
shows that gains in GDP did not translate into better quality of life.
> Read more on website of Canadian Index of Wellbeing - 20 October 2011
> Download report (pdf, 3.3 mb) - October 2011
> View video presentation (4.15 min.)
Social justice in the OECD - How do the member states compare?
A report offers a comparative assessment of 31 OECD countries with
regard to six key dimensions.
> Read press release, Bertelsmann Stiftung - 27 October 2011
> Download full report (pdf, 3.2 mb) - 27 October 2011
Follow up on the Stiglitz Report - achievements and forthcoming
contributions by French statistics authorities. For each of the
three domains defined by the 2009 report, the National Institute of
Statistics and Economic Studies presents the present and future contributions
of the French public statistics authorities.
> Read more - National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies
12 October 2011
years after the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi report: What well-being and
sustainability measures?" Conference organised by France and the
OECD to take stock of initiatives and reflections at national and
> Download conference programme - 12 October 2011 (pdf, 580 kb)
> Watch video - 12 October 2011
European Parliament resolution underlines that the Rio+20 Summit
should deliver an alternative model to measure growth and welfare
> Read resolution, European Parliament - 29 September 2011
Commission proposes provisional set of resource efficiency indicators
and launches a two-year stakeholder process to further improve them.
> Read section 6 of policy paper on resource efficiency in English, French and German
> Read annex 6 on indicators and targets (pdf, 4.6 mb)
20 September 2011
New results on well-being in the United Kingdom from time use
and diary studies by Jonathan Gershuny, University of Oxford,
> Read report (pdf, 696 kb) - 12 September 2011
Eurofound's third European Quality of Life Survey: Field
work to start in September 2011
> Read more about the field work, Eurofound - 9 September 2011
EU citizens' opinion on how to measure progress
The Special Eurobarometer 365 analyzes "Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment". One main finding is that a majority of European citizens prefer an evaluation of national progress based equally on social, environmental and economic criteria (55%). A high proportion (18 %) choose evaluation of progress mostly on social and environmental criteria compared with 12 % who think it should be evaluated on economic criteria. Moreover, 77 % of European's see state of environment as influential on their quality of life, even more relevant than social factors (75 %).
Read the EB 365 Summary (pdf, 3,36 MB) - August 2011.
Read the EB 365 Report "Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment", page 7 (pdf, 7,45 MB) - - August 2011.
response in national debate will help statisticians create the UK's
first set of national well-being indicators. The report "Measuring
what matters" summarises the key findings and outlines the next steps
in the measurement of national well-being.
> Download report (pdf, 1.3 mb) - 27 July 2011
> Download supplementary papers from the Office for National Statistics website - July 2011
> Read news article, BBC - 25 July 2011
OECD Chief Statistician presents
Better life and other initiatives to measure well-being and progress
at UK National Well-being Event
> Download OECD presentation (pdf, 970 kb) - 25 July 2011
OECD reaffirmed its strong commitment to support more inclusive
measures of growth at the conference: "New Directions in Welfare 2011"
held in Paris, France on 6 July 2011
> Read Secretary-General Angel Guirria's opening remarks
> See conference programme and presentations
Final report of the research project "Well-being 2030 - A new
vision for 'Social Europe' aims to bring the insights of the research
on well-being definition and measurement into the policy debate over
the long-term future of Social Europe:
> Download report
19 July 2011
European Policy Centre
UK podcast explains existing measures of economic well-being
> View podcast, Office for National Statistics - 19 July 2011
Finnish expert group proposes that a new set of indicators should
be developed to improve the assessment of wellbeing.
> Read press release - 5 July 2011 (in English, Finnish and Swedish)
> Read news article from YLE (Finnish or Swedish) - 5 July 2011.
> Download report (in Finnish, pdf, 1.1 mb)
Janez Potočnik welcomes adoption of Beyond GDP Report and new
Regulation on Environmental Economic Accounts. These outcomes
demonstrate broad consensus that human development and wellbeing is
about more than what we can measure through monetary values, he points
out in a statement issued after the vote.
> Regulation on Environmental Economic Accounts - 7 June 2011 (in all EU languages)
> Read Commissioner Potočnik's statement - 8 June 2011
GDP resolution adopted by European Parliament. The final vote
in the plenary session showed broad support to the resolution which
has been discussed in six EP Committees. The Commission is now to
come up with concrete ideas for new indicators, says Rapporteur Anna
> Resolution on GDP and beyond: measuring progress in a changing world - 8 June 2011
> Read interview with rapporteur Anna Rosbach - June 2011
> See opinions and documents from debate in EP Committees
on Environmental Economic Accounts adopted by the European Parliament.
In the debate in plenary preceding the vote, several speakers underlined
the importance of measuring aspects of progress relating to the environment.
This is the first out of five actions proposed in EU Roadmap 2009
to be implemented.
> View press briefing by Jo Leinen, Rapporteur and Chair of EP Environmental Committee - 7 June 2011
> Read EP press release, - 7 June 2011
> View debate in the European Parliament, - 6 June 2011
> See transcript of debate in the European Parliament - 6 June 2011
> Regulation on Environmental Economic Accounts - 7 June 2011 (in all EU languages)
German chancellor Angela Merkel supports the efforts to develop
a new, alternative measure of prosperity. She emphasises the need
to integrate the value of natural capital in economic accounting.
> Read Chancellor Angela Merkel's speech (in German), Federal Chancellor's website - 24 May 2011
Your Better Life Index - new, interactive measure of well-being
OECD launches new online tool which lets people measure and compare their lives in a way that goes beyond traditional GDP numbers.
> Go to Your Better Life Index.
> Read press release. - 24 May 2011
> Watch video
The Belgian web-docu "le bonheur brut", which deals with alternative
indicators of economic growth, received this year's Dexia award in
the category Business and Financial Press.
- News article - 28 April 2011, Le Soir (in French)
- Official press release - 28 April 2011, Dexia (in French and Dutch)
- Go to web-docu "Le bonheur brut" (in French)
UN responds to concerns and critiques about the Human Development
Index and makes changes to the choice of variables and the functional
form. Report explains the rationale behind new HDI.
> Download "The Human Development Index 2010: New Controversies, Old Critiques" (pdf, 740 kb)
> Read more on the UNDP website
Growing international interest among leading politicians in new
British happiness index
> Read article (in German)
18 April 2011
New public attitude survey shows slight increase in the average
rating of 'life satisfaction' in England.
> Read more about the survey, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - 13 April 2011
The report "Consumption Dilemma - Leverage Points for Accelerating
Sustainable Growth" questions rising GDP as an appropriate measure
> Download report (pdf, 1.4 mb), World Economic Forum - April 2011
The Eurostat conference on "Statistics for policy making: Europe
2020" took place on 10 & 11 March 2011 in Brussels. President
Barroso, Commissioner for Environment Potocnik, OECD Chief Economist
Padoan, Belgian Minister of Finance Reynders and others confirm that
measuring progress needs to go beyond GDP.
> View video of opening speeches
Conference leaflet with programme, presentations and speeches (pdf, 8.8 mb)
> Opening speech of President Barroso
> Speech of Commissioner Potočnik
> Speech of OECD Chief Economist Padoan
> Conclusions by Commissioner Rehn
India/China comparison must go beyond GDP, says Amartya Sen,
Nobel price winner in economics
> Read article, The Hindu - 14 February 2011
Global poll shows continued strong public support for going beyond
> Read article, GlobeScan - 21 January 2011
German parliamentary committee starts the work to develop new
indicator of prosperity
> Read article (in German), Handelsblatt - 21 January 2011
update of the Sustainable Society Index, SSI-2010, is now available
Sustainable Society Foundation
life like in Italy?" (in Italian)
- updated index of the quality of regional development in Italy.
16 December 2010
debate on the importance of going beyond GDP when measuring wealth
(in Italian with an English transcript)
12 December 2010
TV programme report on Rai Tre
Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy received the joint
report on measuring progress from the economic advisory councils
of Germany and France
10 December 2010
Related news article in Handelsblatt (in German)
German Prosperity Quartet combines four measuring instruments to record
the prosperity of societies
7 December 2010
The German Bundestag has established a Study Commission on growth,
well-being and quality of life in terms of sustainable development
and societal progress
> Read mandate (pdf, 39 kb) - 23 November 2010 1 December 2010 bundestag.de
Read news article - 1 December 2010 (in German)
become a parameter for measuring the wealth of nations?
29 November 2010
turns to statistics to measure happiness
15 November 2010
Cameron aims to make happiness the new GDP
14 November 2010
Committee in Germany to develop new indicator of prosperity (in
12 November 2010
debates over new committee to discuss GDP questions (in German)
22 October 2010
EU Committee of the Regions supports
Commission's beyond GDP agenda and requests use of complementary indicators
to GDP for regional development policies
5 October 2010
Opinion of the EU Committee of the Regions
insights into the economy, quality of life and sustainable development
4 October 2010
(Institut National de la Statistique et des études économiques)
reporting on work done, one year after the Stiglitz Commission report.
4 October 2010
The European Week of Regions and Cities includes several beyond GDP
workshops. The final
programme is now available.
Brussels, 4 - 7 October 2010
4 and 5 October, Flanders and the EU Committee of the Regions organise an Open Days 2010 workshop on indicators and policies for sustainable development.
17 September 2010
The EU Committee of the Regions has published a summary
of contributions to new indicators for measuring the progress
of societies, and calls for contributions to the Opinion it will be
15 September 2010
European Commissioner Olli Rehn's concluding remarks at the conference
Growth for Better Quality of Life in Europe".
14 September 2010
Foreign Minister calls for different measurement of economic growth
18 August 2010
Eurofound publishes survey
on trends in Europeans' quality of life 2003-2009
12 August 2010
UK publishes its annual statistical review of the country’s
progress: Sustainable development indicators 2010
30 July 2010
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Indicators extensively discussed at World Congress of Sociology
11-17 July 2010
tool allows users to calculate and compare their life situation with
the Dutch Life Situation Index
8 July 2010
Netherlands Institute for Social Research
of Agenda 21 in Italy results in a survey on environmental accounting
which examines the experience of over 100 local authorities
Clear Environmental and Reporting Project
Rise and Fall of the G.D.P.
The New York Times
15 May 2010
Eurostat launches dedicated webpage
on its work on complementary indicators to GDP
10 May 2010
The European Economic and Social Committee welcomes the Commission's
GDP - Measuring progress in a changing World and the initiatives
29 April 2010
European Commission delivers first item of the Beyond GDP roadmap:
for an EU Regulation (in all 23 EU languages) on integrated
environmental economic accounting.
9 April 2010
Study by the National Bank of Slovakia discusses the weaknesses
of GDP and suggests alternative approaches to measure quality of life
National Bank of Slovakia
Full report (in Slovak)
Non-technical summary (in English)
Wuppertal Institute publishes report "Alternatives
to GDP for Measuring Progress"
Eurofound publishes its Second
European Quality of Life Survey
25 March 2010
Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for Environment, calls
for the right indicators to induce the right changes.
23 March 2010
GDP understated the depth of the latest recession and may be overstating
the pace of recovery, a
Federal Reserve economist said
18 March 2010
European Commission adopts Europe
2020 strategy, saying:
The European Commission will monitor annually the situation on the basis of a set of indicators showing overall progress towards the objective of smart, green and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion.
3 March 2010
Assembly Government proposes to gauge overall life satisfaction
1 March 2010
EU Committee of the Regions consults
on GDP and beyond
Deadline 16 April
thinking - It is time to abandon GDP as the overriding measure
of social development and economic health.
17 February 2010
Nature 463, 849-850
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants EU to reflect on outcomes of the Stiglitz-Commission
6 February 2010
Video podcast from Angela Merkel (in German)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
agree to propose new growth indicators for the EU.
News article on the French-German summit
Conférence de presse conjointe Sarkozy & Merkel
Gemeinsame Pressekonferenz Merkel & Sarkozy
Entscheidungen im Bereich Wirtschaft, Finanzen, Beschäftigung
Décisions en matière de economie, finances et emploi
4 February 2010
GDP an Obsolete Measure of Progress?
30 January 2010
Welfare in Germany - A suggestion for a new welfare index.
Research Centre for Environmental Policy / Protestant institute for interdisciplinary research
Change, GDP and measurements of prosperity
18 December 2009
Side event of the EESC at the Climate Conference in Copenhagen
Chancellor Merkel expressed interest in the work of Stiglitz Commission
23 November 2009
Parliament resolution on the Pittsburgh G20 Summit calls for new
indicators for sustainable development that go beyond GDP measuring
well-being and environmental impact
8 October 2009
Media coverage on
the Commission Communication "GDP and Beyond" and other recent international
Newly released: BellagioSTAMP principles for sustainability assessment
3rd OECD World Forum “Charting
Progress, Building Visions, Improving Life”
27-30 October 2009, Busan, Korea
says aims for green GDP alternative by 2015
13 October 2009
analysis of Italian regions (in Italian)
A study by the University of Pisa ranks Italian regions according to performance in terms of sustainable development.
University of Pisa
G20 encourages work on measuring progress more comprehensively
Leaders Statement: Pittsburgh summit
25 September 2009
must increase, not gross national product (in Swedish)
23 August 2009
EU Commission adopts Communication “GDP
and beyond”, the EU roadmap to go beyond GDP
20 August 2009
9 August 2009
New York Times
struggle against GDP (in German)
15 July 2009
Financial Times Germany
need to rethink the notion of progress (in French)
8 June 2009
better (in German)
23 April 2009
of statistics (in German)
26 March 2009
Beyond GDP Conference Proceedings
The full proceedings of the Beyond GDP Conference are online and available for download.
4 March 2009
More Humane Way to Measure Progress
How can you tell if your life is getting better? One answer is to ask a statistician. The problem, however, is that you might not like, understand or remotely identify with the answer you receive.
31 January 2009
Supplement, do not supplant, gross domestic product
29 January 2009
Growth indicators - With more economists denouncing GDP as 'a mirage' that ignores the social worth of an activity, the search is on for other yardsticks - but each will have its snags.
27 January 2009
Beyond GDP Newsletter
# 1 published
to look beyond GDP
3 October 2008
The Times of India
bonheur est dans la "richesse véritable", pas dans la croissance
6 septembre 2008
look to expand GDP to count 'quality of life'
1 September 2008
International Herald Tribune
Paper of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance
and Social Progress released by Stiglitz Commission
25 July 2008
Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress
Radermacher, President of the German Statistical Office and designated
Director General of Eurostat speaks on the topic of "Beyond GDP -
providing the basis for a future-orientated sustainable economic policy"
16 July 2008
Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union
Terra Futura: dal Pil alla decrescita per sviluppo e benessere
24 maggio 2008
Parliament resolution of 24 April 2008 on the Green Paper on market-based
instruments for environment and related policy purposes
Welcomes the recent conference "Beyond GDP" organised by the Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD, the WWF and the Club of Rome, and the major conclusions drawn; stresses the importance of complementing GDP by other indicators so as to assess welfare and progress in society in a more balanced way, in particular with regard to the effects of economic growth on the atmosphere and ecosystems;
24 April 2008
money does buy happiness after all
16 April 2008
New York Times
Wachstum durch Zufriedenheit
Vom Glück, Franzose zu sein
Ist Glück messbar? Lässt sich die Zufriedenheit einer Nation statistisch erfassen? Mit dieser Frage beschäftigt sich derzeit der ökonom und Nobelpreisträger Joseph Stiglitz im Auftrag des französischen Staatschefs Sarkozy, der kritisiert, dass die heutigen Statistiken nur quantitativ statt qualitativ messen.
15 April 2008
16 marzo 2008
13 mars 2008
busca alternativa para medir el bienestar
3 February 2008
sucht das GlÜck
12. Januar 2008
Sen: "Non si vive di solo Pil"
11 gennaio 2008
Use Happiness As Economic Measure
10 January 2008
croissance ne se résume pas au PIB: Sarkozy puise é
9 janvier 2008
GDP Conference Summary now available
4 January 2008