In This Review

Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being
Measuring What Counts: The Global Movement for Well-Being
By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi, and Martine Durand
256 pp, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2019

Gross domestic product, a concept initially developed by economists in the 1930s, has now entered the everyday lexicon of journalists, businessmen, officials, and politicians. GDP is a measure of how a national economy uses its resources—labor, land, and capital—to produce goods and services during a particular period of time, usually a year. But GDP has come to be used much more widely as a measure of economic growth and as a proxy for economic well-being, often without important qualifications and caveats. The misuse of GDP has troubled an increasing number of economists and noneconomists. This volume successfully explains what GDP does not and cannot measure well and suggests that countries should publish a dashboard that measures what is really important. The authors propose 67 indicators that would present a more complete picture of the health of a national economy. Although these are useful measures, many countries would find it a challenge to collect and maintain such thorough statistics.