Beyond GDP: Measuring Welfare and Assessing Sustainability

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9780199767199: Beyond GDP: Measuring Welfare and Assessing Sustainability

In spite of recurrent criticism and an impressive production of alternative indicators by scholars and NGOs, GDP remains the central indicator of countries' success. This book revisits the foundations of indicators of social welfare, and critically examines the four main alternatives to GDP that have been proposed: composite indicators, subjective well-being indexes, capabilities (the underlying philosophy of the Human Development Index), and equivalent incomes.
Its provocative thesis is that the problem with GDP is not that it uses a monetary metric but that it focuses on a narrow set of aspects of individual lives. It is actually possible to build an alternative, more comprehensive, monetary indicator that takes income as its first benchmark and adds or subtracts corrections that represent the benefit or cost of non-market aspects of individual lives. Such a measure can respect the values and preferences of the people and give as much weight as they do to the non-market dimensions.
A further provocative idea is that, in contrast, most of the currently available alternative indicators, including subjective well-being indexes, are not as respectful of people's values because, like GDP, they are too narrow and give specific weights to the various dimensions of life in a more uniform way, without taking account of the diversity of views on life in the population. The popular attraction that such alternative indicators derive from being non-monetary is therefore based on equivocation.
Moreover, it is argued in this book that "greening" GDP and relative indicators is not the proper way to incorporate sustainability concerns. Sustainability involves predicting possible future paths, therefore different indicators than those assessing the current situation. While various indicators have been popular (adjusted net savings, ecological footprint), none of them involves the necessary forecasting effort that a proper evaluation of possible futures requires.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :


Marc Fleurbaey is the Robert E. Kuenne Professor of Economics and Humanistic Studies, Professor of Public Affairs and the UniMarc Fleurbaey is Robert E. Kuenne Professor of Economics and Humanistic Studies and Professor of Public Affairs for the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Previously, he was Research Director at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Professor of Economics at Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour and Université de Cergy-Pontoise, as well as a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. He was formerly the editor of Economics and Philosophy and is currently the coordinating editor of Social Choice and Welfare.

Didier Blanchet belongs to the Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Economiques (Insee). He is Editor-in-Chief of Economie et Statistique and research affiliate to the Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique (Crest). Earlier positions included researcher at the Institut National d'Études Démographiques and head of Insee's Department of General Economic Studies.
versity Center for Human Values

Review :


"Fleurbaey and Blanchet have written a brilliant and deeply-learned survey of the ways to measure a society's condition. Among its many contributions, Beyond GDP offers a powerful defense of equivalent incomes as the core of a new approach--an approach that respects the diversity of individual preferences and the multiplicity of sources of human well-being."--Matthew Adler, Richard A. Horvitz Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, Duke University


"Dissatisfaction with GDP has grown from a trickle to a torrent among policymakers, yet there has been no comprehensive treatment to which economists could turn to explore the technical and ethical underpinnings of measurement. Fleurbaey and Blanchet have filled the gap with this serious, readable, and sophisticated text. Beyond GDP will be essential reading for all economists interested in how the subject can incorporate new lessons from philosophy and psychology. It is a milestone on the road to a new welfare economics."--Angus Deaton, Dwight D Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs, Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University


"The development of measures of social progress and well-being has been booming in recent decades, both in the academic world and in policy circles. In Beyond GDP, Fleurbaey and Blanchet discuss critically the most important arguments for various new approaches and measures in an analysis that is both theoretically sophisticated and practically relevant. A must-read for everyone (both academics and policy-makers) who is interested in moving 'beyond GDP' with a better awareness of the underlying theoretical challenges."--Erik Schokkaert, Department of Economics, University of Leuven and CORE, Université catholique de Louvain


"In the burgeoning literature on alternative measures for GDP, Beyond GDP constitutes a milestone. Fleurbaey and Blanchet provide a consistent and thorough discussion of different approaches to the measurement of current social performance and future sustainability. Since their approach is robustly rooted in the development of economic theory over the last 60 years, it offers an integrated theoretical perspective on various branches of literature on GDP, which are often treated in a disparate way. Simultaneously, their critical discussion of 'fixed points' in economic theory marks a breakthrough with considerable consequences. The combination of theoretical rigor and pragmatic final conclusions is refreshing and stimulating for all those involved in the endeavor to go 'beyond GDP.'"--Frank Vandenbroucke, Professor, KULeuven; former Minister in the Belgian Government


"There have been a plethora of alternative indicators of social progress proposed as alternatives to GDP in the last four decades. Fleurbaey and Blanchet identify four approaches to constructing such measures and examine and critically evaluate the theoretical foundations for each approach in detail. The authors cogently argue for an equivalent income approach that has the virtue of being a monetary indicator that respects the diversity of preferences and values in society. This masterful volume is essential reading for both scholars and practioners with interests in these issues."--John A. Weymark, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Economics, Vanderbilt University


"It has been widely accepted that GDP is neither a good measure of well-being nor sustainability. But any alternative metric suffers from various diseases, sometimes similar to those of the GDP. A new book by Marc Fleurbaey and Didier Blanchet brings new light to this issue; a rigorous and clear analytical treatment of the topic. While the authors are dedicated economists and philosophers, most parts are accessible and worth reading for those coming from a more ecologically-minded perspective. Even if one disagrees with their carefully argued conclusions, this book still constitutes essential reading, sharpening the argument on what is welfare and how to measure it. This book is essential and extremely pleasant reading for anyone interested in the substance of the "Beyond GDP" question. Even those who disagree with their arguments in favor of the equivalent-income approach will discover a wealth of material to sharpen their minds and to find intellectual satisfaction."--Ecological Economics


"The authors report on their quest for good indicators of social progress. In the book they delve into the ethical considerations and the economic theory behind 4 alternatives. LSE Review of Books recommends this book to policy makers and scholars of all social sciences, psychology, ecology and philosophy that are dissatisfied with GDP as a measure of social well-being. Using insights from philosophy, welfare economics and psychology, Beyond GDP is structured around examining the pros and cons of four different approaches to measure social well-being, each with different degrees of paternalism and perfectionism. Get this book if you want to get up to speed on how to go beyond GDP in the quest for a better indicator of national well-being. But be prepared for a demanding read, as you'll need a knowledge of microeconomics and growth theory beyond the undergraduate level."--LSE Review of Books


"There are many gems strewn throughout the book, including a superb discourse on index numbers, a refutation of egalitarianism as a criterion for social happiness, and a perceptive discussion of the drawbacks of discounting future social welfare... all told, this work will undoubtedly interest philosophers, psychologists, and ethicists, but above all economists, who are here shown the powers of deductive reasoning, the merits of scholarly diffidence, and the dictum that economics 'is a method rather than a doctrine' (Keynes, 1922)." --Journal of Regional Science


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Marc Fleurbaey, Didier Blanchet
Edité par Oxford University Press Inc, United States (2013)
ISBN 10 : 019976719X ISBN 13 : 9780199767199
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Description du livre Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In spite of recurrent criticism and an impressive production of alternative indicators by scholars and NGOs, GDP remains the central indicator of countries success. This book revisits the foundations of indicators of social welfare, and critically examines the four main alternatives to GDP that have been proposed: composite indicators, subjective well-being indexes, capabilities (the underlying philosophy of the Human Development Index), and equivalent incomes. Its provocative thesis is that the problem with GDP is not that it uses a monetary metric but that it focuses on a narrow set of aspects of individual lives. It is actually possible to build an alternative, more comprehensive, monetary indicator that takes income as its first benchmark and adds or subtracts corrections that represent the benefit or cost of non-market aspects of individual lives. Such a measure can respect the values and preferences of the people and give as much weight as they do to the non-market dimensions.A further provocative idea is that, in contrast, most of the currently available alternative indicators, including subjective well-being indexes, are not as respectful of people s values because, like GDP, they are too narrow and give specific weights to the various dimensions of life in a more uniform way, without taking account of the diversity of views on life in the population. The popular attraction that such alternative indicators derive from being non-monetary is therefore based on equivocation. Moreover, it is argued in this book that greening GDP and relative indicators is not the proper way to incorporate sustainability concerns. Sustainability involves predicting possible future paths, therefore different indicators than those assessing the current situation. While various indicators have been popular (adjusted net savings, ecological footprint), none of them involves the necessary forecasting effort that a proper evaluation of possible futures requires. N° de réf. du libraire AOP9780199767199

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Description du livre Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In spite of recurrent criticism and an impressive production of alternative indicators by scholars and NGOs, GDP remains the central indicator of countries success. This book revisits the foundations of indicators of social welfare, and critically examines the four main alternatives to GDP that have been proposed: composite indicators, subjective well-being indexes, capabilities (the underlying philosophy of the Human Development Index), and equivalent incomes. Its provocative thesis is that the problem with GDP is not that it uses a monetary metric but that it focuses on a narrow set of aspects of individual lives. It is actually possible to build an alternative, more comprehensive, monetary indicator that takes income as its first benchmark and adds or subtracts corrections that represent the benefit or cost of non-market aspects of individual lives. Such a measure can respect the values and preferences of the people and give as much weight as they do to the non-market dimensions.A further provocative idea is that, in contrast, most of the currently available alternative indicators, including subjective well-being indexes, are not as respectful of people s values because, like GDP, they are too narrow and give specific weights to the various dimensions of life in a more uniform way, without taking account of the diversity of views on life in the population. The popular attraction that such alternative indicators derive from being non-monetary is therefore based on equivocation. Moreover, it is argued in this book that greening GDP and relative indicators is not the proper way to incorporate sustainability concerns. Sustainability involves predicting possible future paths, therefore different indicators than those assessing the current situation. While various indicators have been popular (adjusted net savings, ecological footprint), none of them involves the necessary forecasting effort that a proper evaluation of possible futures requires. N° de réf. du libraire AOP9780199767199

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Description du livre Oxford University Press Inc. Hardback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Beyond GDP: Measuring Welfare and Assessing Sustainability, Marc Fleurbaey, Didier Blanchet, In spite of recurrent criticism and an impressive production of alternative indicators by scholars and NGOs, GDP remains the central indicator of countries' success. This book revisits the foundations of indicators of social welfare, and critically examines the four main alternatives to GDP that have been proposed: composite indicators, subjective well-being indexes, capabilities (the underlying philosophy of the Human Development Index), and equivalent incomes. Its provocative thesis is that the problem with GDP is not that it uses a monetary metric but that it focuses on a narrow set of aspects of individual lives. It is actually possible to build an alternative, more comprehensive, monetary indicator that takes income as its first benchmark and adds or subtracts corrections that represent the benefit or cost of non-market aspects of individual lives. Such a measure can respect the values and preferences of the people and give as much weight as they do to the non-market dimensions. A further provocative idea is that, in contrast, most of the currently available alternative indicators, including subjective well-being indexes, are not as respectful of people's values because, like GDP, they are too narrow and give specific weights to the various dimensions of life in a more uniform way, without taking account of the diversity of views on life in the population. The popular attraction that such alternative indicators derive from being non-monetary is therefore based on equivocation. Moreover, it is argued in this book that "greening" GDP and relative indicators is not the proper way to incorporate sustainability concerns. Sustainability involves predicting possible future paths, therefore different indicators than those assessing the current situation. While various indicators have been popular (adjusted net savings, ecological footprint), none of them involves the necessary forecasting effort that a proper evaluation of possible futures requires. N° de réf. du libraire B9780199767199

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Description du livre Oxford University Press Inc, 2013. État : New. Is GDP a good proxy for social welfare? Building on economic theory, this book confirms that it is not, but also that most alternatives to it share its basic flaw, i.e., a focus on specific aspects of people's lives without sufficiently taking account of people's values and goals. A better approach is possible. Num Pages: 336 pages, 32 illustrations. BIC Classification: HPS; JKS; KCA; KCR. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 243 x 160 x 21. Weight in Grams: 612. . 2013. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . N° de réf. du libraire V9780199767199

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