PHILIPSBURG–In a recent publication, the Social Economic Council SER unanimously advised government to adopt an additional index to measure and monitor societal well-being. The publication is based on a letter sent to the caretaker Council of Ministers on October 30, 2019, which was titled, “Data Matters: The value of data to sustainably transform our society.”
Countries rely too heavily on gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress, said SER.
“GDP is used to monitor productivity, market activity and to gauge how the country, from a macroeconomic perspective, is performing financially. Oftentimes countries are happy to report the increase in GDP and GDP per capita without translating its meaning to the individual level.
“However, the growth in GDP solely measures economic performance. GDP does not measure inequality, well-being or quality of life, and is not a true reflection of the social reality,” said SER.
Therefore, SER advises government to include a “comprehensive and multidimensional (social) index” to measure and monitor social well-being and progress as a complement to GDP. According to SER, this should include both a basic-needs approach (BNA) and a capabilities approach (CA).
To implement this, proper data collection and management is essential, according to SER. “Research has revealed that adopting data-driven decision-making can have five to six per cent higher output and productivity. … Data collected must be accurate and of high quality, as skewed data will ultimately produce skewed policies,” said SER.
For this reason, SER advises government to designate the Department of Statistics STAT as a main autonomous entity with greater access to collect essential data, to increase awareness of the importance of data collection and sharing via a multi-level community campaign, to formalise and financially sustain a data management platform as a tool for data sharing, and to amend the National Ordinance on statistics and the regulation on social-economic statistics.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/93937-ser-advises-government-to-adopt-new-social-indicators