Challenging the Dominant Economic Narrative Through Alternative Wellbeing Indicators: The Canadian Experience (In: The Politics of Wellbeing: Theory, Policy, and Practice)

This chapter examines the experience with beyond-GDP measurement in Canada, a country that has made significant contributions to wellbeing research and new prosperity indicators. While some advocates of beyond-GDP measurement argue that it is key to shifting societal priorities away from economic growth toward sustainability, equity, and wellbeing, others are motivated by a vision of better policymaking without challenging the growth paradigm. In either case, is there evidence to date that alternative wellbeing indicators have lived up to their supporters’ expectations? The chapter draws on interviews with researchers, NGO leaders, public-sector officials, and politicians involved in developing or advocating use of new wellbeing indicators in Canada. It assesses the evolution of beyond-GDP measurements, their limited impacts, and obstacles to their use in Canada.

Jeffrey Wilson