Beyond GDP? Welfare Across Countries and Time

42 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2010

See all articles by Charles I. Jones

Charles I. Jones

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter J. Klenow

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2010

Abstract

We propose a summary statistic for the economic well-being of people in a country. Our measure incorporates consumption, leisure, mortality, and inequality, first for a narrow set of countries using detailed micro data, and then more broadly using multi-country data sets. While welfare is highly correlated with GDP per capita, deviations are often large. Western Europe looks considerably closer to the U.S., emerging Asia has not caught up as much, and many developing countries are further behind. Each component we introduce plays a significant role in accounting for these differences, with mortality being most important.

Suggested Citation

Jones, Charles I. and Klenow, Peter J., Beyond GDP? Welfare Across Countries and Time (September 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16352. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1674796

Charles I. Jones (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

Stanford GSB
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650-725-9265 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~chadj

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Peter J. Klenow

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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