OECD Forum Speakers Series: Getting the measure of economic progress


Diane Coyle, Author and Head of Enlightenment Economics

GDP and beyond

Friday, 7 March 2014, 12:00 – 13:30
OECD Conference Centre, Room E


As part of the OECD Forum Speakers Series, Diane Coyle, Author and Head of Enlightenment Economics, delivered a presentation entitled “Getting the measure of economic progress - GDP and beyond”.

Does the conventional measure, GDP, still have value for economic policy, and what would it mean to go “beyond GDP”? It has some well-known flaws, but they tend not to be those identified by critics of the continuing focus on GDP. What's more, the call for alternative, single economic indicators often confuses separate measurement aims.

In this presentation, Diane explored the importance of distinguishing economic activity from social welfare and from sustainability. GDP, or something like it, is appropriate to measure activity; however, assessing the associated welfare and sustainability requires different indicators.

Diane Coyle runs the consultancy Enlightenment Economics. She serves as Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust. She was a member of the UK Border Agency's Migration Advisory Committee from 2007-2012 as well as a member of the Competition Commission of the UK from 2001-2009. She is also a visiting research associate at the University of Oxford, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. 

Diane specialises in competition analysis and the economics of new technologies and globalisation, including extensive work on the impact of mobile telephony in developing countries. Diane is also a member of the stakeholder advisory panel of EDF Energy.

She is the author of several books including her latest, GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History and earlier works: The Economics of Enough (2011), The Soulful Science (2007), Sex, Drugs and Economics (2002), Paradoxes of Prosperity (2001), Governing the World Economy (2000) and The Weightless World (1997). She has also published numerous book chapters, reports and articles, and was formerly a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4's Analysis. 

She was previously Economics Editor of The Independent and had worked at HM Treasury and in the private sector as an economist. She has a PhD from Harvard. Diane was awarded the OBE in 2009.


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