Beyond GDP Indicators

Beyond GDP, understanding the impacts of alternative indicators in practice:
motivations, policy change, and building a new economic narrative

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About Us

Dr. Jeffrey Wilson

Dr. Jeffrey Wilson has worked at the interface of economic and environmental research and policy for over 17 years. As a practitioner, Jeff operates a boutique consulting firm specializing in economic and sustainability analysis, indicator development, natural capital accounting, ecosystem valuation, strategy and policy development. Early in Jeff’s research career he was involved with the development of the Nova Scotia Genuine Progress Index, Alberta Genuine Progress Indicator, and Canadian Index of Wellbeing. He has been thinking about beyond GDP measurement ever since.

Jeff completed a PhD in Ecological Economics in 2013 from Dalhousie University. His research has been well recognized winning national and international awards. In addition to his consulting practice, he is currently a part time assistant professor at Dalhousie University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Dr. Anders Hayden

Dr. Anders Hayden is an associate professor in Political Science at Dalhousie University. He is interested in the evolving balance between promotion of ecological modernization (“green growth”) and sufficiency-based challenges to the endless growth of production and consumption. His interest in the sufficiency approach has included examination of policies and initiatives to reduce hours of work as well as research on Bhutan’s pursuit of Gross National Happiness.

He is the author of two books: When Green Growth Is Not Enough: Climate Change, Ecological Modernization, and Sufficiency (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014) and Sharing the Work, Sparing the Planet: Work Time, Consumption & Ecology (Zed Books / Between the Lines, 1999). He is a board member for the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) and on the editorial board of the journal Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy.

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Beyond GDP: International Experiences, Canada's Options

A decade has passed since the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress called on world governments to find better ways to measure wellbeing and sustainability. In recent years, "beyond-GDP" measurement initiatives have proliferated internationally. Canadians have made key contributions to measuring wellbeing and understanding what drives it, and many non-governmental indicator initiatives have emerged. Given the continued need for better prosperity measurements, and the growing knowledge base from recent initiatives, we believe it is timely to host an event to exchange and share that knowledge, and discuss the next steps forward.

At the workshop, we aim to advance academic, public, and policy debate on wellbeing measurement in Canada by bringing together Canadian and international academics, policy-makers and government officials, non-governmental organizations, and the public.

Key questions to be addressed at the workshop include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • What have been the policy and other impacts of key beyond-GDP measurement initiatives so far?

  • What lessons can be drawn from these cases about the possibilities and obstacles to using alternative prosperity measurements?

  • What are the most promising policy applications of beyond-GDP measurement?

  • What key barriers to introducing beyond-GDP metrics exist in Canada?

  • Should the Government of Canada (and/or provincial governments) create an official beyond-GDP indicator or indicator dashboard? If so, which approach to wellbeing measurement should guide construction of those indicators?

  • What complementary measures and related policy tools can help ensure that new measurements are not merely calculated and published, but taken into account in policymaking?

  • What are the key next steps for beyond-GDP measurement (whether in Canada, other nations, or internationally)?


May 23, 2019 at 09:00 - May 24, 2019 at 15:00

Event sponsors:

The event is being organized by the Centre for the Study of Security and Development and the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University, in collaboration with Engage Nova Scotia. The workshop is co-sponsored by Green Analytics, the Canadian International Council, and the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative.







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