Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being
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Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being

Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio

The past decade has been characterized by a burgeoning interest in new concepts of individual and social well-being. The impetus for this new research has stemmed from increased demand from policy makers and civil society for measures of progress that go beyond the traditional measures of GDP, as well as improved datasets allowing individuals and households to be tracked over their life course. The aim of this Handbook is to chart these developments and provide extensive surveys of many of the recent themes that have emerged in the research literature. Some of the topics addressed include poverty. relative deprivation and satisfaction, economic insecurity, social exclusion and inequality, income and social polarization, and social fractionalization and diversity. Each topic is first analyzed from a theoretical perspective, followed by detailed empirical discussion.
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Chapter 2: Going beyond GDP: empirical findings

Carlotta Balestra, Romina Boarini and Nicolas Ruiz


The chapter presents an overview of several challenging issues related to the assessment of well-being through measures aimed at looking ‘beyond GDP’. Although designed to measure aggregate economic performance from a macroeconomic perspective, gross domestoc product (GDP) has been extensively used to measure welfare, with a number of problems and limitations. Starting from the mid-1970s, criticisms to this approach encouraged early attempts to create alternative measures for GDP. The Great Recession and inequality considerations further prompted the discussion through national and international initiatives. These gave birth to a set of measures and frameworks which focus more on the individuals, entailing considerations on the distribution of well-being, multidimensionality and subjective perceptions. The chapter reviews some of these measures, addressing the main issues and techniques as well as outlining the greatest statistical challenges linked to the measurement of progress and well-being.

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