How was life? Global well-being since 1820

26 March 2019 - 11:56

Zanden, J.L. van, et al., How was life? Global well-being since 1820 (Paris and Amsterdam, 2015).

The How was Life? Global Well-Being Since 1820 report was published in October 2014. To celebrate the publication of this important report and to present it to the world, two launches were organised: one by the OECD in Paris, and one by Clio Infra in Utrecht.

The How was Life? Global Well-Being Since 1820 report is the product of cooperation between two projects:

  • The OECD Better Life initiative: In the Better Life initiative, the OECD focuses on people's well-being and societal progress, by not only looking at the functioning of the economic system but also at the diverse experiences and living conditions of people and households.
  • The Clio Infra project: Clio Infra is a global network of economic historians who, inspired by Angus Maddison (an economic historian who collected and published data on historical global GDP), collect data on the different facets of the evolution of the world economy from 1500 to 2010.

The OECD and Clio Infra worked together to present state of the art estimates on the development of various indicators of well-being from 1820 onwards. The volume represents an important contribution to the discussion about broadening the concept of welfare used to understand socio-economic development (generally GDP per capita) and thereby illustrates the importance of measuring well-being ‘beyond GDP’.

IISH Publications | How Was Life?