A common theme in the economic development literature has been that the growth in average annual real GDP per capita overstates the improvement in human welfare. The fundamental flaw of that measurement, however, is that it fails to measure the lifetime welfare of individuals—leading it to understate improvements in human welfare.

Hendrik Van den Berg is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Economic History and DevelopmentEconomic PolicyEconomyEntitlements and Welfare