Joseph Stiglitz,Amartya Sen,Jean-Paul Fitoussi

Mismeasuring Our Lives

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In February of 2008, amid the looming global financial crisis, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France asked Nobel Prize–winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with the distinguished French economist Jean Paul Fitoussi, to establish a commission of leading economists to study whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the most widely used measure of economic activity—is a reliable indicator of economic and social progress. The Commission was given the further task of laying out an agenda for developing better measures.
Mismeasuring Our Lives is the result of this major intellectual effort, one with pressing relevance for anyone engaged in assessing how and whether our economy is serving the needs of our society. The authors offer a sweeping assessment of the limits of GDP as a measurement of the well-being of societies—considering, for example, how GDP overlooks economic inequality (with the result that most people can be worse off even though average income is increasing); and does not factor environmental impacts into economic decisions.
In place of GDP, Mismeasuring Our Lives introduces a bold new array of concepts, from sustainable measures of economic welfare, to measures of savings and wealth, to a “green GDP.” At a time when policymakers worldwide are grappling with unprecedented global financial and environmental issues, here is an essential guide to measuring the things that matter.
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    renatabonkovamembuat kutipan4 tahun yang lalu
    Much progress has been achieved in the last two decades in terms of measuring environmental conditions (through better environmental data, the regular monitoring of indicators and accounting tools), understanding their impacts (e.g., evaluation of related morbidity and mortality, labor productivity, the economic stakes associated with climate change, biodiversity change, damage from disasters) and establishing a right of access to environmental information. A range of environmental indicators can be used to measure human pressure on the environment, the responses from administrations, firms and households to environmental degradation and the actual state of environmental quality.
    renatabonkovamembuat kutipan4 tahun yang lalu
    Research on social connections has traditionally relied on proxy measures, such as the number of individual memberships in associations, or the frequency of activities assumed to result from social connections (e.g., altruistic behavior and voter turn-out). However, it is by now accepted that these are not good measures of social connections, and that reliable measures require surveys of peoples’ behaviors and activities. In recent years, a number of statistical offices (in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and, most recently, the United States) have started surveys that measure various forms of social connections. For example, special modules of the labor-force survey in the United States ask people about their civic and political engagement, their membership and voluntary work in various organizations, their relationship with neighbors and family members and how they get information and news. Similar surveys should be implemented elsewhere, based on questions and protocols that allow valid comparisons across countries and over time. Progress should also be made in measuring additional dimensions of social connections (such as trust in others, social isolation, availability of informal support in case of need, engagement in the workplace and in religious activities, friendship across lines of race, religion and social class) by building on the experience accumulated by some countries in these fields.
    renatabonkovamembuat kutipan4 tahun yang lalu
    Comparisons based on existing indicators of political voice and governance highlight vast differences between countries, especially between those with a long history of democratic functioning and those that have moved from authoritarian to democratic regimes only more recently and that have not yet established the full range of freedoms and rights. Even in the developed world, however, low trust in public institutions and declining political participation point to a growing gap between how citizens and political elites perceive the functioning of democratic institutions
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