By / March 26, 2014

Measuring well-being and progress: Looking beyond GDP

Gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of national economic production, has come to be used as a general measure of…

© DragonImages / Fotolia
Measuring well-being and progress: looking beyond GDP
© DragonImages / Fotolia

Gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of national economic production, has come to be used as a general measure of well-being and progress in society, and as a key indicator in deciding a wide range of public policies. However GDP does not properly take into account non-economic factors such as social issues and the environment. In the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis, the European Union (EU) needs reliable, transparent and convincing measures for evaluating progress. Indicators of social aspects that play a large role in determining citizens’ well-being are increasingly being used to supplement economic measures. Health, education and social relationships play a large role in determining citizens’ well-being. Subjective evaluations of well-being can also be used as a measure of progress. Moreover, changes in the environment caused by economic activities (in particular depletion of non-renewable resources and increased greenhouse gas emissions) need to be evaluated so as to ensure that today’s development is sustainable for future generations. The EU and its Member States, as well as international bodies, have a role in ensuring that we have accurate, useful and credible ways of measuring well-being and assessing progress in our societies.

To read the whole EPRS Briefing click here

Life satisfaction and GDP per capita for selected MS
Life satisfaction and GDP per capita for selected MS

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