Measuring What Counts

The Global Movement for Well-Being

A bold agenda for a better way to assess societal well-being, by three of the world’s leading economists and statisticians

“If we want to put people first, we have to know what matters to them, what improves their well-being, and how we can supply more of whatever that is.” —Joseph E. Stiglitz

In 2009, a group of economists led by Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, French economist Jean-Paul Fitoussi, and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen issued a report challenging gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress and well-being. Published as Mismeasuring Our Lives by The New Press, the book sparked a global conversation about GDP and a major movement among scholars, policy makers, and activists to change the way we measure our economies.

Now, in Measuring What Counts, these economists, summarizing the deliberations of a panel of experts on the measurement of economic performance and social progress hosted at the OECD, the official think tank of the advanced countries, propose a new, “beyond GDP” agenda. The book offers an accessible overview of the last decade’s global movement, sparked by their original critique of GDP, and proposes a new “dashboard” of metrics to assess a society’s health, including measuring inequality and economic vulnerability, whether growth is environmentally sustainable, how people feel about their lives, and what factors contribute to individuals’ and countries’ success. It also offers a guide for policy makers and others on how to use these new tools to change the way we measure our lives—and to plot a radically new path forward.

Books by these authors

For Good Measure
An Agenda for Moving Beyond GDP

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Martine Durand