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Measuring WellbeingA History of Italian Living Standards$
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Giovanni Vecchi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199944590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199944590.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 May 2021

Human Development

Human Development

(p.454) 12 Human Development
Measuring Wellbeing

Nicola Amendola

Giacomo Gabbuti

Oxford University Press

Wellbeing is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon, encompassing factors such as income and wealth, longevity, health, and education, but also less tangible aspects. Each dimension adds a tile to the grand mosaic portraying the progress made by the Italians since the country was unified. These single stories, however, do not always concur with one another. How to join the various threads together? Is it possible to summarize the complex picture and to clearly reconstruct the dynamics of the wellbeing of the Italians? The chapter seeks the answer in the Human Development Index, a simple arithmetical mean of three elementary indicators: average income, life expectancy at birth, and average schooling. The HDI delivers a number of novel lessons, but the overall conclusion is that the use of indicators such as the HDI in economic history is a false lead that does not solve the problem of a summary measure of wellbeing.

Keywords:   Wellbeing, Human Development, Human Development Index (HDI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Education, Life expectancy at birth, Civil liberty, Political Rights, Happiness, Freedom

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