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, Stiglitz, Fitoussi, and Martine Durand—summarizing the deliberations of a panel of experts on the measurement of economic performance and social progress hosted at the OECD, the international organization incorporating the most economically advanced countries—propose a new, “beyond GDP” agenda. This book provides an accessible overview of the last decade’s global movement, sparked by the original critique of GDP, and proposes a new “dashboard” of metrics to assess a society’s health, including measures of inequality and economic vulnerability, whether growth is environmentally sustainable, and how people feel about their lives. Essential reading for our time, it also serves as a guide for policy makers and others on how to use these new tools to fundamentally change the way we measure our lives—and to plot a radically new path forward.

News and Reviews

The Brian Lehrer Show

Listen to an interview with Measuring What Counts co-author and Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show

The Guardian

Read an op-ed by Measuring What Counts co-author Joseph E. Stiglitz about the need to rethink metrics like GDP in The Guardian

Books by these authors

For Good Measure
An Agenda for Moving Beyond GDP

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