'An Interdisciplinary Synthesis of Beyond-GDP and the Implications for Economic Measurement'


‘An Interdisciplinary Synthesis of Beyond-GDP and the Implications for Economic Measurement’


Thursday 18 November 2021, 12:30 — 13:30

Presented by Rutger Hoekstra (United Nations University / Leiden University)

Since the early 1970s several hundred “Beyond-GDP” index or indicator dashboards have been proposed. Some of the greatest minds and most powerful institutes have weighed in on the measurement of well-being, sustainability, and inequality. Some are based on mainstream welfare-economic approaches, while others are from heterodox schools such as happiness/behavioural economics or Sen’s capability approach. Natural science approaches such as ecological footprint or planetary boundaries also have a long tradition. However, some people reject science-based measurement systems and argue for a deliberative democratic process in which people get agency in the Beyond-GDP goals and policies.

Given the plethora of approaches, what might Beyond-GDP look like in future? And what consequences will this have for economic measurement? In this talk, Rutger argues that a process of international consolidation and harmonisation is desperately needed. This should be based on an interdisciplinary synthesis of Beyond-GDP indicators and accounts.

Rutger Hoekstra has nearly 20 years of experience working on the quantification of value, well-being and sustainability from an academic, government, statistical and business perspective. He is the author of ‘Replacing GDP’ by 2030 which is published by Cambridge University Press.

Currently, Rutger is affiliated to the United Nations University where he is the coordinator of the WiSE Transformation Initiative. He also an Associate Professor (1 day) at the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University and fellow of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll). Rutger has worked with/for the United Nations, OECD, World Bank, European Commission, European Central Bank, various ministries, NGO’s and large companies to create better metrics for society. He was the co-chair of the UN-ECE/OECD/Eurostat Task Force which developed the Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations on Measuring Sustainable Development. He was also worked for the Dutch Parliament as a expert for the Commission for Broader Measures of Well-being (Dutch: Commissie Brede Welvaart).

Rutger has lectured at many universities and published numerous publications on sustainable development, natural and human capital, globalisation, circular economy, input-output analysis, decomposition analysis and big data applications. He was also Scientific Director of True Value at KPMG-Sustainability where he helped corporate clients measure their social and environmental impacts using the True Value methodology.

Video recording