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Beyond GDP : measuring welfare and assessing sustainability

Author: Marc Fleurbaey; Didier Blanchet
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2013.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Is GDP a good proxy for social welfare? Building on economic theory, this book confirms that it is not, but also that most alternatives to it share its basic flaw, i.e., a focus on specific aspects of people's lives without sufficiently taking account of people's values and goals. A better approach is possible.
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Additional Physical Format: Print:
Fleurbaey, Marc.
Beyond GDP :
2013
Material Type: Document
Document Type: Book, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Marc Fleurbaey; Didier Blanchet
ISBN: 9780199332557 019933255X
OCLC Number: 940555731
Description: 1 online resource : illustrations (black and white)
Contents: Contents ; vii ; Preface ix ; Introduction: The four musketeers xi ; 1 A wealth of indicators 1 ; 1.1 Introduction ; 1.2 A bird's eye view ; 1.3 Aggregating the non-aggregatable? ; 1.4 Correcting GDP ; 1.5 Sustainability assessment: weak or strong? ; 1.6 Coping with multidimensionality: dashboards ; 1.7 An overhanging question: how far can aggregation go? ; 2 Measuring sustainability ; 2.1 Introduction ; 2.2 Wealth and sustainable well-being ; 2.2.1 Discounting future streams of well-being? ; 2.2.2 From intertemporal well-being to sustainable consumption ; 2.3 The savings approach: a reference framework ; 2.3.1 Shifting the focus to sustainability : why? ; 2.3.2 Assessing sustainability in imperfect but predictable economies. ; 2.3.3 An example ; 2.4 The savings approach: several pending problems ; 2.4.1 Monetization in practice ; 2.4.2 Behavioral indeterminacy or when 'weak' indicators can ; turn out too strong ; 2.4.3 Technological and normative uncertainties ; 2.4.4 An additional problem: the cross-national dimension of ; unsustainability ; 2.5 Conclusion: where to go from there? ; iii ; iv CONTENTS ; 3 A price for everything? ; 3.1 A revealed preference argument ; 3.1.1 The argument for an individual consumer ; 3.1.2 Extending the argument to social welfare through a representative agent ; 3.1.3 Extending the argument to social welfare with an opti- ; mality assumption ; 3.2 A variant of the revealed preference argument ; 3.3 The theory of index numbers ; 3.3.1 An axiomatic approach ; 3.3.2 Approximating welfare changes ; 3.4 Decomposing welfare ; 3.4.1 A first decomposition, with the social expenditure function ; 3.4.2 A second decomposition, in terms of effeciency and equity ; 3.4.3 A new decomposition, based on Bergson curves ; 3.4.4 Another decomposition, for small variations ; 3.5 Specific problems with imputed prices and full income ; 3.6 Conclusion ; 4 Equivalent income, or how to value what has no price ; 4.1 Money-metric utility and equivalent income ; 4.2 Knock-out criticism? ; 4.2.1 Not welfarist enough ; 4.2.2 Too welfarist ; 4.2.3 Potentially regressive ; 4.2.4 Reference dependent ; 4.2.5 Arrow's coup de grace ; 4.3 Fairness to the rescue ; 4.3.1 The equivalence approach in fair allocation theory ; 4.3.2 Arrow Independence is not compelling ; 4.3.3 References need not be arbitrary ; 4.3.4 The right dose of welfarism ; 4.3.5 Bundle dominance is unacceptable ; 4.3.6 Egalitarianism is demanding ; 4.4 Social welfare decomposition ; 4.5 Conclusion ; 5 Is happiness all that matters? ; 5.1 The Easterlin paradox: Have we been wrong for 70,000 years? ; 5.1.1 Bentham is back ; 5.1.2 The debate about subjective welfarism ; 5.1.3 Is happiness the ultimate goal? ; 5.1.4 The key objection to subjective scores ; 5.2 A theory of subjective well-being ; 5.2.1 A[currency]ects and judgments ; 5.2.2 The three problems of the respondent ; CONTENTS v ; 5.2.3 Heterogeneous and shifting standards ; 5.2.4 What do people care about? ; 5.2.5 Comparisons across preferences ; 5.3 Making use of happiness data ; 5.3.1 Proposed indicators ; 5.3.2 Putting a[currency]ects in their place ; 5.3.3 Identi?cation problems ; 5.3.4 Can happiness data be improved? ; 5.4 Conclusion ; 6 Empowering capabilities ; 6.1 The capability approach ; 6.1.1 From basic needs to capabilities ; 6.1.2 Functionings, between 'opulence' and 'utility' ; 6.1.3 From functionings to capabilities ; 6.2 Capabilities as opportunities ; 6.2.1 Valuing sets ; 6.2.2 The relevant aspects of opportunities ; 6.2.3 Shaping opportunity sets ; 6.2.4 Equality against set valuation ; 6.2.5 Why capabilities? ; 6.3 The valuation issue ; 6.3.1 The intersection approach ; 6.3.2 Disagreement and respect for diversity ; 6.3.3 Implications of respect for personal preferences ; 6.4 Is the CA a separate approach? ; Conclusion: How to converge on a multiplicity ; Why synthetic indicators? ; Shortcuts and pitfalls ; Vices and virtues of monetary indicators ; A multiplicity of synthetic indicators ; Sustainability warnings ; A A theory of the reference for equivalent incomes ; A.1 The model ; A.2 Reference operators ; A.3 Non-market goods ; A.4 Market prices ; A.5 The household problem ; B Proofs 233 ; B.1 A Paretian rank-dependent criterion ; B.2 Reference-price independence ; B.3 A simple proof of Arrow's theorem in an economic framework ; vi CONTENTS ; Bibliography
Responsibility: Marc Fleurbaey and Didier Blanchet.
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Is GDP a good proxy for social welfare? Building on economic theory, this book confirms that it is not, but also that most alternatives to it share its basic flaw, i.e., a focus on specific aspects  Read more...

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Fleurbaey and Blanchet have written a brilliant and deeply-learned survey of the ways to measure a society's condition. Among its many contributions, Beyond GDP offers a powerful defense of Read more...

 
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