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BRinging Alternative INdicators into POLicy

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Alternative indicators for policymaking

An EU initiative aimed to increase the influence of more inclusive alternatives to the gross domestic product (GDP) indicator that represent progress in a broader sense. If the connection between research (indicator producers) and policy (indicator users) has been established, the indicators can be better embedded in the policymaking process, with consequently a higher impact for society.

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In 2009, the European Commission outlined an EU roadmap with five key actions to improve indicators of progress that meet citizens' concerns and capitalise on new technical and political developments. Beyond GDP indicators have been developed that are more inclusive of progress in economic, environmental and social aspects of everyday life. However, these indicators are not being considered in policymaking. The EU-funded 'Bringing alternative indicators into policy' (BRAINPOOL) project set out to change this situation. BRAINPOOL's approach considered the problem as a mismatch between demand and supply, and aimed to solve this disparity via research and brokerage activities. Throughout the project, connections were established with relevant stakeholders and target groups, such as policymakers, statistical offices and planning agencies. The project team characterised supply by analysing the potential of Beyond GDP indicators from a producer perspective. They also characterised demand by analysing the priorities for users and establishing which institutional settings help or hinder them to use Beyond GDP indicators. Interviews were conducted to determine the factors that have made some initiatives more successful than others in terms of interest and policy influence. The consortium examined the levels of demand for Beyond GDP indicators via interviews and workshops with policymakers. Seven case studies were carried out across Europe to enhance the use of Beyond GDP indicators in policy. Barriers to their use were identified and recommendations for overcoming them were proposed. A workshop was held in 2013 that brought together relevant stakeholders to examine approaches to increasing the uptake of Beyond GDP indicators. This led to a joint action plan for the implementation of Beyond GDP indicators. In 2014, a final conference looked at challenges and solutions for a Beyond GDP method to policymaking. BRAINPOOL explored the barriers to use of Beyond GDP indicators in policymaking and proposed solutions for overcoming their resistance.


Alternative indicators, policymaking, policy, gross domestic product, Beyond GDP

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