Launch of How Was Life? Vol. II - New Perspectives on Historical Global Inequality
Date : Mar 25, 2021
Building on a long standing association with Angus Maddison, the OECD and the OECD Development Centre released the report How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820 in 2014 that provided a long-term and global perspective, including 25 among the largest countries and eight world regions, on many of the dimensions covered in How’s Life?, OECD’s flagship report of the measurement of well-being.
Building on the collaboration with the same group of historians, gathered around the Clio-Infra initiative, this new report brings additional light on historical developments in people’s well-being by presenting evidence on new aspects, including on working time, social spending, biodiversity loss, and on new facets of inequality, including inequality in wealth, length of lives, educational attainment and extreme poverty. The report also revisits evidence already included in the 2014 edition in the light of recent historical research, including GDP estimates and gender inequality. Two composite measures, of average well-being outcomes across countries and of within-countries inequalities, are used to summarise the historical evidence included in this report as well as in the previous 2014 edition.
This launch event provided an opportunity to exchange views with the authors and leading practitioners in historical research about the key findings of the report and discuss ways forward for quantitative economic history.