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More than GDP: Measuring What Matters

This report explores the complex issues hidden behind two simple questions: what is Progress and what is Prosperity? It argues that GDP is an insufficient and misleading measure of whether life in Scotland is improving or not. It takes the findings of the 2009 Stiglitz Report, which emerged from the Commission set up by President Sarkozy to advise on how better to measure economic performance and social progress.

It recommends that the new Scottish Government applies these to creating a performance framework better able to deliver, measure and report on economic performance, quality of life, sustainability and well-being. The report also shows that over-reliance on GDP as a measure makes it difficult for politicians to back policies that are good for society or the environment if they might hamper an increase in GDP.  The Scottish Round Table which created this report was established by the Carnegie UK Trust to look in more detail

at how to better measure economic performance and social progress in Scotland. We were concerned to ensure that the strong social structures and healthy environment, necessary to create a flourishing Scotland, were not overlooked as a result of working to measures mainly focused on economic activity.  In short, we are advising that the Scottish Government should measure what matters.

The work of the Round Table is being followed up with a series of events and meetings across the UK designed to stimulate interest in Scotland’s innovative attempts to include wider than GDP outcomes based measures in its public sector planning and policy processes. We also aim to encourage discussion and action in Scotland around the recommendations of the report.

Jan Bebbington, University of St Andrews

Documents & Links:

More than GDP: Measuring What Matters (PDF, 1,485 KB) 

For more information please contact:

Shelagh Young


Jim Metcalfe


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