France: Sad economy, happy people?

Marketplace Staff Jan 10, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

France: Sad economy, happy people?

Marketplace Staff Jan 10, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Measuring economic growth usually means looking at the total output of goods and services. Well, the president of France wants to include something new in the calculation. Here’s Megan Williams.


Megan Williams: French president Nicolas Sarkozy isn’t happy with how the French economy is doing. Despite urging the French to love less and work more, growth is down. So he’s enlisted two Nobel-winning economists to revamp how economic success is measured to include a happiness factor.

Belgium economist Paul de Grauwe says for several decades, France and Europe’s per capita GDP has been lagging behind the U.S. by about 30 percent. That prompted researchers to ask: Are Americans, as a result, happier than Europeans?

De Grauwe: The happiness people have tried to measure all this, and came to the conclusion, no, there was no evidence that the average American is happier than the average European.

While counting happiness is important, says De Grauwe, he warns it can be a way out for politicians.

De Grauwe: Sometimes, it can also be abused to hide failures of economic policy, maybe that’s also part of the story.

As France’s economy drags, Sarkozy himself is on Cloud Nine with his new girlfriend, model Carla Bruni. And France, it seems, isn’t happy about that.

I’m Megan Williams for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

Raise a glass to Marketplace!

Just $7/month gets you a limited edition KaiPA pint glass. Plus bragging rights that you support independent journalism.
Donate today to get yours!