Typology of statistical systems for the measurement of progress, well-being and sustainability

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Most NSIs have been deeply involved in international Expert Groups in order to agree on definitions, standards and best practices. These initiatives result in a road map for the European Statistical System to improve measurement of social progress and sustainability, a common framework to measure sustainable development, a first set of quality of life indicators, two regulations on European environmental accounts and another one on an ad hoc module on subjective well-being in the Survey on Income and Living Conditions. Work is on progress to measure disparities between categories of households in the National Accounts, three countries being now ready to publish such data.

The present document constitutes a comprehensive overview of improvement in existing practices for the measurement of well-being and sustainability within National Statistical Institutes since the publication of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi ground-breaking report in 2009.

It mentioned both at national and international level, the most significant practices for the measurement of progress and Sustainable development within National
Statistical Institutes, as reported by European NSIs which responded to a questionnaire sent to them in June 2013.


This report is an output of the e-Frame (European Framework for Measuring Progress) project.

e-Frame is a major international project which aims to provide a European framework for the debate over the measure of well-being and progress. The project involves a broad range of activities including conferences and workshops, as well as research and the development of guidelines. It is led by two major European National Statistical Institutes (NSIs), ISTAT (in Italy) and the CBS (in the Netherlands), and includes amongst the partners two other NSIs (the French INSEE and the UK ONS), the OECD, and several universities and civil society organisations. It is funded by the EU FP7 Work Programme.

Many EU Member States have launched their own national initiatives and action plans to go beyond GDP.

All NSIs are in the process of implementing a common multidimensional framework for measuring quality of life.

Concerning measurement of welfare in the National Accounts, more countries are now publishing data on adjusted disposable income and actual consumption in real terms, per consumption unit.

Concerning measurement of environment and sustainability, most countries have developed a set of sustainable development indicators (SDI), which are rapidly converging, more than 75 % of the indicators being already the same. To raise awareness of sustainable development and environmental sustainability concerns, many countries have associated in the whole process, from identifying and selecting the indicators to their dissemination and gathering feedback, a wide range of stakeholders, varying from ministries, local authorities, social partners, non-government organizations and civil society. Friendly ways of communication, using IT tools (Switzerland, Netherlands) areoften used to synthesize information to a non-expert audience.

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Typology of statistical systems for the measurementof progress, well-being andsustainability


Claire Plateau, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques – INSEE

See Also

Stiglitz Report
Compendium of Sustainable Development Indicators
European Network on Measuring Progress
European Framework for Measuring Progress