Marc Fleurbaey & Guillaume Gaulier
"The Champions of GDP per Head and Those of Standard of Living"
La Lettre du CEPII N°260, October 2006, CEPII.
GDP per inhabitant is the most commonly used indicator for making international comparisons between standards of living. Yet it ignores the non-monetary components which may differ widely from one country to another. Here, on the contrary, we start from the premise that there is no exclusive preference for monetary income but that choices are made between the different components of the standard of living which can then be expressed in terms of “equivalent income”. Corrections are made to the GDP per head of 24 OECD countries to obtain a standard of living indicator that includes several aspects of individual and social well-being (leisure, health, inequalities, sustainability etc.). In the classification by country, Japan and France, in particular, move up places whereas the United States moves down.