By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Amartya Sen & Jean-Paul Fitoussi

In February of 2008, amid the looming global financial crisis, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France asked Nobel Prize–winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with the distinguished French economist Jean Paul Fitoussi, to establish a commission of leading economists to study whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the most widely used measure of economic activity—is a reliable indicator of economic and social progress. The Commission was given the further task of laying out an agenda for developing better measures.

Mismeasuring Our Lives is the result of this major intellectual effort, one with pressing relevance for anyone engaged in assessing how and whether our economy is serving the needs of our society. The authors offer a sweeping assessment of the limits of GDP as a measurement of the well-being of societies—considering, for example, how GDP overlooks economic inequality (with the result that most people can be worse off even though average income is increasing); and does not factor environmental impacts into economic decisions.

In place of GDP, Mismeasuring Our Lives introduces a bold new array of concepts, from sustainable measures of economic welfare, to measures of savings and wealth, to a “green GDP.” At a time when policymakers worldwide are grappling with unprecedented global financial and environmental issues, here is an essential guide to measuring the things that matter.

Stiglitz about the report, a video from 2008:

Table of Contents of Mismeasuring Our Lives

  1. Classical GDP Issues
  2. Quality of Life
  3. Sustainable Development and Environment
Published:
Publisher: The New Press
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Panel Discussion on Mismeasuring Our Lives

About Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University and Co-founder and Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue. A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, he was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1993-95. He is the author of many books, including the international bestseller Globalization and Its Discontents, which has been translated into 28 languages.

Amartya Sen is an Indian economist, who since 1972 has taught and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States. Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, decision theory, development economics, public health, and measures of well-being of countries. He is currently Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 and India's Bharat Ratna in 1999 for his work in welfare economics.

Jean-Paul Fitoussi is professor emeritus at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (SciencesPo), Paris, and professor at LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome.