FNE-Growth and welfare-indicators of sustainable development

Growth and welfare/indicators of sustainable development

This area is divided into two main questions:

(a) How can approaches to measuring social welfare be developed that constitute alternatives to seeing welfare strictly in terms of the gross domestic product, by operationalising the concept of sustainability?

(b) How can economic, environmental and social policy be devised in a society without the paramount idea of constant economic growth? Individual projects (current and concluded) are:


  • Management of economic, social and environmental policy in highly developed industrialised societies without economic growth (book project);
  • Financeability of the social welfare system without economic growth, or with low growth rates (evaluation of models);
  • Further development of the proposed indicator system of sustainable development in the field of local government;
  • Evaluation of the indicator-supported municipal sustainability reporting;
  • Development of instruments for national sustainability reporting: updating of the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), maintaining the indicator-led approach developed by H. Diefenbacher, V. Teichert and S. Wilhelmy;
  • Welfare measurement in Germany: Ein Vorschlag für einen neuen Wohlfahrtsindex (NWI);

Studies in this field link up with projects to develop indicator systems that have been undertaken since the mid-1990s. The research group has for some years been critically debating theoretical and political approaches to the growth issue, particularly with respect to the ideal of sustainability.