Social and quality of life indicators could be considered as new indicators of gross domestic product.

IF – 06/2019

Gross domestic product (GDP) as an economic indicator provides information on the overall economic performance of an economy over a period of time. Therefore, GDP has long been criticised for not reflecting people’s needs or the challenges facing society as a whole. Accordingly, new indicators are to be introduced such as change management, better communication on scientific findings and, above all, the commitment of civil society to measuring the well-being of citizens and the progress of society.

These approaches were the subject of a public debate held in June 2019 by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and its Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO).

It was agreed that improving the quality of life and social progress are among the most important objectives of policy making. Scientists from different fields should work much more closely together in the future to develop new indicators. EESC members therefore also called for better communication on scientific evidence and developments. 

The current social and quality of life indicators that are already available are not part of the standard policy-making process. Nevertheless, new indicators should be developed. Examples would be the measurement of child poverty in relation to parental income or the involvement of citizens in policy making. These could be additional important indicators of citizens’ well-being.

It is also difficult to find common indicators for social security. Citizens play a key role in creating indicators beyond GDP that are also realistic. The support of organised civil society in this endeavour would be very helpful.