Open Conference Systems, 50th Scientific meeting of the Italian Statistical Society

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An empirical measure of social progress for the European regions: challenges and solutions
Paola Annoni

Last modified: 2018-06-04


To go beyond-GDP it is necessary to provide complementary and reliable measures to the ubiquitous measure of an economy's goods and service value, the GDP. The European Union Social Progress Index – EU-SPI – is a first attempt in this direction. It measures the EU societal well-being by including, one of a kind, regional social and environmental indicators while excluding GDP or any other income-based indicators.

Three broad elements of social progress are included: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. The focus is on outcomes relevant for wellbeing rather than on material inputs and outputs.

The first edition of the index was published by the European Commission in cooperation with the Social Progress Imperative, a think-tank responsible for the Global Social Progress Index, and Orkestra, a Spanish research institute. The EU-SPI follows the Global SPI framework but adapts methodology and indicators to the EU context.

Results show an important within-country variability, confirming that the sub-national and local levels often matter more than the national one. A clear contrast between the regions' performance in terms of GDP and its performance in terms of well-being, as measured by the EU-SPI, is generally observed

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