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GDP Is the Wrong Tool for Measuring What Matters

Scientific American

Joseph Stiglitz

Gross domestic product (GDP) is almost universally used to gauge how well a society is doing. In fact, it is a measure of market activity—no more. The Great Recession of 2008–2009 highlighted the need for better ways to measure the well-being of an economy and society, as well as its sustainability—whether or not good times can last. Over the past decade leading scholars have devised a broad set of measures to help steer societies toward the futures their citizens desire. Several countries are embedding these “dashboard” indicators into their decision-making processes.

About the Author

Joseph Stiglitz
Co-President
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)

Joseph E. Stiglitz is co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, and Chairman of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia, teaching in its Economics Department, its Business School, and its School of International and Public Affairs. He chaired the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, created in the aftermath of the financial crisis by the President of the General Assembly. He is former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank and Chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001.

Publication Information

Type Network Paper
Program -
Posted 08/01/20
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