Barriers to the use of alternative (‘beyond GDP’) indicators in policy making

The BRAINPOol project identified some of the barriers to using alternative (‘beyond GDP’) indicators to guide policy, and some of the ways these barriers can be overcome. The report gives on overview of seven case studies where these questions have been addressed.The seven case studies took place in Germany, the UK, Midi-Pyrenees in France, Wales, Rotterdam, Chrudim in the Czech Republic, and at the OECD.

The report identified 12 barriers, grouped into 5 main categories:

Resources: budget constraints, data problems

Resistance: natural conservatism, beyond GDP is redundant

Communication: ignorance or confusion about indicators, lack of a strong narrative that engages the public, language and politics associated with Beyond GDP

Complexity: lack of a single Beyond GDP indicator with the salience of GDP,complexity and uncertainty of Beyond GDP policy analysis

Organisation: lack of ‘indicator entrepreneurs’, difficulty of working across silos and organisations, human resource shortages

In order to overcome some of the above listed barriers, the report also suggests specific recommendations, such as demonstrating the difference Beyond GDP indicators will make, finding opportunities to communicate about Beyond GDP, developing a database of indicators that facilitates integrated policy making and identifying potential users with power and tailor the indicators to their needs and try to entrench their use.

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