Media library

From Summary: Policy decisions at the organizational, corporate, and governmental levels should be more heavily influenced by issues related to well-being––people’s evaluations and feelings about their lives. Domestic policy currently focuses heavily on economic outcomes, although economic indicators omit, and even mislead about, much of what society values. We show that economic indicators have many shortcomings, and that measures of well-being point to important conclusions that are not apparent from economic indicators alone. For example, although economic output has risen steeply over the past decades, there has been no rise in life satisfaction during this period, and there has been a substantial increase in depression and distrust. We argue that economic indicators were extremely important in the early stages of economic development, when the fulfillment of basic needs was the main issue. As societies grow wealthy, however, differences in well-being are less frequently due to income, and are more frequently due to factors such as social relationships and enjoyment at work.

Psychological science in the public interest. Vol. 5, No. 1, 1-31.