Skip to main content

RWI Positionen #56


Christoph M. Schmidt, Nils aus dem Moore

Wie geht es uns? Die W3-Indikatoren für eine neue Wohlstandsmessung

Societal well-being cannot be measured by means of economic parameters alone – neither its level nor its recent development. Thus, much more is needed for an adequate statistical reporting than simply collecting data on economic performance. As early as 2013, the study commission on “Growth, Wellbeing and Quality of Life”, set up by the German Bundestag, proposed a new indicator system for comprehensive welfare measurement - the so called W3-indicators. Germany’s grand coalition should now build on this indicator system when putting the topic ‘Good Life’ at the centre of its governmental activities. The W3-indicator system rests on three equal pillars and covers the dimensions ‘material well-being’, ‘social wealth’ and ‘ecology’. A well thought-out dashboard of ‘headline indicators’ and ‘warning lights’ considers both the complexity of human existence and the requirements towards an easy communicability. With intent and by construction, this indicator system does not lend itself to a prioritization as for what criteria might be the most important in terms of the individual’s welfare. This weighting hast to rest with the individual beholder. For a political standardization of individual perceptions of quality of life is neither feasible nor desirable.