The Measurement of Progress
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 : 3:45 PM
Clement House, 3rd Floor, Room 05 (London School of Economics)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In recent years there has developed considerable interest in going ‘beyond GDP’ to develop more explicit measures of human wellbeing and in this paper, therefore, we examine the extent to which Sen’s (1985) theory of life quality can be fully and directly operationalized to produce such data. More specifically, we develop unique data to match the key concepts of the theory and use them to compare aspects of life quality in the USA, UK and Italy. Our analysis centres around comparisons of distributions, based on non-parametric stochastic dominance tests of wellbeing in different domains as well as regression models of happiness. We offer a number of relatively novel empirical findings relating to within country rankings of individual capabilities, country and gender differences in their distribution, their ability to significantly enhance the predictive success of equations for happiness and the roles of non-cognitive skills and institutions. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the Human Development and OECD indices and that the approach provides a viable ‘dashboard’ method for direct life quality measurement in applications from project evaluation through to the assessment of progress.