Is life getting better? Are our societies making progress? And what does “progress” mean to the world’s citizens? For much of the twentieth century, there was an implicit assumption that economic growth was synonymous with progress—a growing GDP meant life must be getting better. We now recognize that it isn’t quite that simple. Access to accurate information is vital when we come to judge our politicians and hold them accountable. But access to a comprehensive and intelligible portrait of that most important of questions—whether or not life has gotten and is likely to get better—is lacking in many societies.
In 2007, the OECD’s 2nd World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy brought together a diverse group of leaders from more than 130 countries to debate these issues. This volume contains 40 papers presented at the forum.