n.27 December 2009


Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz believes that economists might have foreseen the real estate bubble crash had they looked past GDP growth to the distribution of income among the American middle class. But looking at median markers and well-being isn't part of the current national statistical puzzle.  Yet a number of nations and institutions are beginning to acknowledge they can't predict the future on GDP alone. They need to know how people are feeling, and what they want.

Italian economist Enrico Giovannini was Chief Statistician of the Paris based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for eight years, orchestrating global efforts to statistically quantify and explain national progress.

In February 2008, the President of the French Republic, Nicholas Sarkozy, unsatisfied with the present state of statistical information about the economy and the society, asked Joseph Stiglitz
(President of the Commission), Amartya Sen (Advisor) and Jean Paul Fitoussi (Coordinator) to create a Commission, subsequently called “The Commission on the Measurement of
Economic Performance and Social Progress” (CMEPSP). The Commission’s aim has been to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, including the problems with its measurement; to consider what additional information might be required for the production of more relevant indicators of social progress; to assess the feasibility of alternative measurement tools, and to discuss how to present the statistical information in an appropriate way.