Decent Work and Economic Growth

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Discussing Approaches to Standard of Living

  • Maria Barreiro-GenEmail author
Living reference work entry


The three main, and sometimes conflicting, definitions of Standard of Living are (1) the utility of life (Pigou 1952); (2) economic provision or “opulence,” which measures the amount and quality of commodities that the individual is free to use (Deutsch and Silber 1987); and (3) a type of freedom, i.e., to be free to do something, the capability to live well for a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area (Sen 1984). Among these, the last one is the most complete and complex definition; however, in practice, governments and institutions tend to use the second approach since it is easier to obtain data for this one.


Unlimited growth, as a main goal of a country, has been criticized, especially during the last 10 years (Stiglitz et al. 2008; Heinrichs 2013; Barreiro-Gen 2018), since it may not increase people’s well-being (Juknys et al. 2018). Equally, the economic assumption that a person who consumes more is always better off than a person who...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GävleGävleSweden
  2. 2.University of A CorunaA CorunaSpain

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rosa Maria Fernandez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of ChesterChesterUK