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Barriers and opportunities for alternative measures of economic welfare

Brent Bleys and Alistair Whitby

Ecological Economics, 2015, vol. 117, issue C, 162-172

Abstract: This paper explores a number of barriers and opportunities facing alternative measures of economic welfare by conducting semi-structured in-depth interviews with (potential) users in both Belgium and Germany. The barriers that they identified are grouped into three categories. Context factors are embedded in the policy context and agendas that shape the environment in which an indicator percolates, indicator factors depend on specific characteristics of the indicators, while user factors relate to the level of experience and expertise of the users of indicators and the institutional culture in which they operate. Drawing on the different barriers that are reported, we identify four opportunities to increase the policy value of alternative measures of economic welfare: harmonizing and updating the methodological framework, extending macroeconomic models to include a wider range of welfare-related items, improving the communication around these indicators and promoting indicator and researcher entrepreneurship. These opportunities should be regarded as recommendations to the scientific community that works on these alternative measures. The process of overcoming the different barriers listed in this paper should not be insurmountable, as there is clear international public support for using health, social and environmental statistics as well as economic statistics to measure societal progress and human well-being.

Keywords: ISEW; Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare; NWI; National Welfare Index; GPI; Genuine Progress Indicator; Economic Welfare; Beyond GDP; Barrier study (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (33)

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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.06.021

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