New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

crisis 2018

(Unsplash, 2018)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.


Better measurement of the economy and of people’s well-being could have led governments to respond more strongly to mitigate the damage caused by the 2008 financial crisis and reduce people’s continuing loss of trust in public institutions, according to a new report.

Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance says that different metrics, including of people’s economic insecurity, would have revealed that the consequences of the recession were deeper than GDP statistics suggested. As a result, the importance of bolstering safety nets and social protection was not sufficiently taken into account.

The report, produced by the three co-Chairs of the High-Level Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor Jean-Paul Fitoussi and OECD Chief Statistician Martine Durand, recommends that governments use a dashboard of indicators to assess a country’s health and people’s conditions.

This dashboard of indicators should encompass the most important dimensions of people’s lives, such as skills, health, jobs and income, as well as economic security, environmental degradation and trust. It should pay attention not just to average outcomes but also to how policies affect each of the segments of society, and give a balanced consideration to well-being today and in the future. These indicators should be broad enough to reflect key concerns, but narrow enough to be readily understood by policy makers and the public.

“It is only by having better metrics that truly reflect people’s lives and aspirations that we will be able to design and implement better policies for better lives,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report at the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy in Incheon, Korea. “It’s essential to try to establish the truth of people’s lives rather than the truth we find it most practical to study. This will play a key role in restoring people’s trust in institutions and supporting inclusive growth.”

“Too much emphasis has been placed on GDP as the leading measure of the health of economies and societies,” said Professor Stiglitz. “Ahead of the crisis this blinded policy makers to the dangers lurking and led them to make the wrong policy choices in the aftermath. If we do not look at the things that matter in life – whether that is inequalities, how people feel they are doing, their health and capabilities, or environmental sustainability – we cannot make the right choices for people, societies and the planet.”

“People can’t live without at least the hope of social progress,” said Professor Fitoussi. “This was the backbone of our work – we scrutinized the available metrics to determine how and why they might hide a regressive evolution, from economic security to trust, passing through sustainability, inequalities including those of opportunities, and other measures and determinants of well-being. The central question, instead of focusing on GDP, then becomes: growth of what and for whom?”

The report also evaluates progress made in developing metrics going beyond GDP since 2009 and in using them in policy making. It contains a set of 12 recommendations to move forward which include: urging the international community to invest in upgrading the statistical infrastructure of poor countries; allowing statistical offices to use tax records to capture developments in the top-end of the distribution; integrating information on inequalities in macro-economic statistics to understand who benefits from GDP growth; routinely assessing the effects of policies on people’s economic insecurity, to better measure sustainability and resilience; and, measure trust and social norms through both surveys and experimental tools.

An accompanying report, For Good Measure: Advancing Research on Well-being Metrics Beyond GDP, summarises the contributions to these debates by leading economists, political scientists, sociologists, psychologists and statisticians.

These reports are released at the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy being held in Incheon, Korea, where international experts, policy makers, and business leaders from fields as diverse as the economy, the environment, health, development, social affairs, governance  and statistics are discussing the trends that will re-shape people’s lives in the decades to come, as well as the information gaps that need to be filled to respond to the challenges ahead.

The report will serve as a reference for the OECD’s Better Life Initiative which focuses on developing statistics that can capture aspects of life that matter to people and that, taken together, help to shape the quality of their lives. It also encompasses a range of research and methodological projects on measuring well-being. This includes developing measurement guidelines (e.g. on income, consumption and wealth; subjective well-being; trust; and the quality of the work environment), and building the evidence base on the distribution of well-being outcomes (e.g. income, wealth, and health inequalities) and opportunities.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Challenges facing the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit record high – UN

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Britain in and out of the EU

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

Voices of young climate action activists ‘give me hope’ says UN chief

European Semester 2019 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth

Easing ‘classroom crisis’ in Côte d’Ivoire, brick by (plastic) brick

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

5 ways COVID-19 has changed workforce management

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Coronavirus Global Response: European Commission pledges €300 million to Gavi

Trump’s MAGA policy remains unchanged as EU warns to impose additional retaliation tariffs on US products

European Defence Fund on track with €525 million for Eurodrone and other joint research and industrial projects

COVID-19 creates a perfect storm for the extreme weather season

Healthcare for refugees: a necessary symbiosis of medicine and politics

EU climate law: MEPs want to increase emission reductions target to 60% by 2030

A geared turbofan at Pratt & Whitney's production hub in West Palm Beach (copyright: Pratt & Whitney - a UTC Company- 2018; Source: Pratt & Whitney's website, media center)

The EU Commission approves UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell Collins under conditions

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

How to help an ageing population stay wealthy for longer

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Google’s bare truth: Europe’s Chief denies EU accusations but admits they “don’t always get it right”

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

Our health systems are under pressure. Here are 9 ways to remedy that

Hardware is a cybersecurity risk. Here’s what we need to know

Hatred ‘a threat to everyone’, urges Guterres calling for global effort to end xenophobia and ‘loathsome rhetoric’

What talent means in the post-COVID-19 workplace

What will Germany look like after the next election?

New legislation on transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment model in the food chain

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

African elephants under continued threat of poaching, warns UN-backed report

AIESEC Vlog

Four million have now fled Venezuela, UN ramps up aid to children who remain

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

As ride-hailing firms drive into the future, who is being left behind?

Syrian crisis: €5.3 billion mobilised by donors for 2021 and beyond at 5th Brussels Conference

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

New round of bargaining for the 2014 EU budget late in autumn

Sudan: European Union provides €30 million in humanitarian assistance

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

UN evaluates progress in improving peacekeeping performance

The US + Britain trivialize mainland Europe, NATO and the EU

Khashoggi case highlights ‘very worrying practice’ of overseas abductions, says UN expert

What does global health translate into?

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Polluted lungs: health in the center of environment discussion

Here are 3 lessons Europe can learn from China’s flourishing start-ups

Geopolitics and investment in emerging markets after COVID-19

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

Coronavirus: EU global response to fight the pandemic

SCADA Security Conference 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and their challenges

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s