The Better Life Index of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Ádám Kerényi
PhD candidate, Faculty of Economics, University of Szeged, Institute of Finance and International Economic Relations, Szeged
Published in: Public Finance Quarterly 2011/4 (p. 518-538.)

SUMMARY: Among economists the following questions arise: Will new measures of well-being1 be any more meaningful than traditional indicators? Is the new focus on quality of life a welcome recognition that governments can and should promote happiness? In my study I introduce the OECD’s so-called Better Life Index, which was launched on 24 May 2011 and aims to measure wellbeing and progress. The index allows citizens to compare well-being1 across 34 countries in 11 topics – housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance – giving their own weight to each of the topics. In this document I tend to focus on and show charts relating to the data and ranks concerning Hungary. Over the past 50 years, the OECD has developed a rich set of recommendations on policies that can best support economic growth. The task for economists is to develop an equally rich menu of recommendations on policies to support societal progress: better policies for better lives. The success of the OECD’s recent publication depends on its application and on its ability to give coherent shape to incoherent reality and asymmetric public policy objectives. Surely the quality of life, as people experience it, has got to be a key measure of progress and a central objective for any government.

KEYWORDS: well-being, indicators, OECD


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