© Presseamt Münster - Angelika Klauser

Indicators for the Quality of Life and the Environment

One of the core issues in the globalization debate has been the question of the benefits and costs of globalization and their distribution. A fundamental problem with such inquiries, however, is their choice of indicators. Scholars have pointed out the limited reliability of GDP when it comes to measuring societal well-being for decades. Accordingly, it is worthwhile to analyze the question of the winners and losers of globalization anew. Can we identify a different distribution of benefits and costs of globalization if we use more comprehensive indicators of well-being?

A joint research project of Prof. Doris Fuchs, Prof. Markus Lederer, Prof. Bernd Schlipphak, Prof. Oliver Treib and Dr. Le Anh Long seeks to answer this question. To this end, the rapidly expanding literature on indicators of well-being, quality of life, happiness and sustainability needs to be scrutinized. On this basis, the substantive strengths and weaknesses of the different indicators will be compared and questions of data availability clarified. Then, two most promising indicators will be identified and employed in cross-sectional time series analyses to empirically assess the distribution of the benefits and costs of globalization. The results achieved will provide interesting insights in two respects: First, the results will reveal the distribution of the benefits and costs of globalization on a more reliable basis than previous studies. Secondly, the results will show to what extent a use of different indicators of well-being leads to results that significantly diverge from the results of studies using GDP-related indicators. Thereby, they will provide first indications of the extent to which previous scientific insights drawn from GDP-related indicators need to be reconsidered.