Beyond GDP

In the past half-century, Asia has seen remarkable growth, lifting millions out of extreme poverty and achieving GDP growth rates that are the envy of the world. While GDP growth has been impressive on the surface, not everyone is benefitting from growth, as higher GDP growth for countries has not necessarily translated to better incomes and purchasing power for all. Some countries in Asia have seen inequality widen within their populations. Growth has also occurred at the expense of the environment.

The key issue lies within how growth is measured. While GDP has been the standard national measure for economic success since the end of World War II, it does not distinguish between the quantity and quality of growth. GDP does not indicate the critical question of who benefits from growth and it does not account for negative externalities of economic activity.

This research briefing evaluates several “beyond GDP” measures that have been developed that include metrics accounting for social and environmental concerns, including the Social Progress Index, the World Economic Forum’s Sustainability-Adjusted Global Competitiveness Index, and the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index, and analyzes how Asian countries are doing along various dimensions. Leaders and policymakers in Asia can use these measures to identify the areas where their countries fall short and put in place the targets and incentives necessary to achieve higher quality growth.

For the full report, please click on the link below:

Beyond GDP: Measuring Progress and Well-Being in Asia (PDF)