Title

GDP per capita and its challengers as measures of happiness

Department

Business Administration

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

International Journal of Social Economics

Publication Date

2006-08-25

Volume

33

Issue

10

First Page

698

Last Page

709

Abstract

Purpose - The paper attempts to empirically assess whether GDP per capita or the human capital index is a better measure of happiness. Design/methodology/approach - Cross-country regressions are run to see how GDP per capita fairs in comparison to the human capital index in explaining happiness based on survey questionnaires. Findings - The paper finds that GDP per capita accounts for a far greater share of the cross country variation in happiness based on survey data than the human capita index and assorted other measures of human welfare. Practical implications - The important implication is that the often heard criticism that GDP per capita is inappropriate for use in economic analysis, especially in the area of economic development and other international fields, because it is not specifically designed as a measure of welfare, may be unfounded. Originality/value - The paper shows that GDP per capita is a better measure of happiness defined in surveys than the human capital index. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Keywords

Economic policy, Gross domestic product, Human capital, Social policy, Social welfare

DOI

10.1108/03068290610689732

https://doi.org/10.1108/03068290610689732

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