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The Empirics of Social Progress: The Interplay between Subjective Well-Being and Societal Performance

Daniel Fehder, Michael Porter and Scott Stern

AEA Papers and Proceedings, 2018, vol. 108, 477-82

Abstract: Though economists have long recognized that GDP is not by itself a measure of societal well-being, most GDP alternatives incorporate direct measures of economic performance. We propose instead an independently constructed measure, a social progress index, focusing exclusively on noneconomic dimensions of societal performance, highlighting three core dimensions—basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity. GDP and social progress are correlated but distinct, the social progress dimension least related to GDP (opportunity) is strongly related to subjective well-being, and the relationship between social progress and well-being is greater for individuals at lower relative income and educational attainment.

JEL-codes: C43 E01 E23 I31 I32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181036
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