What is “equitable growth” and how do we measure it? This new recurring series asks economists, other researchers, and practitioners to explore these questions. Equitable growth means an economy that raises living standards for all families. We have seen decades of economic growth in the U.S.—commonly measured by GDP. Yet that success has not meant significant income growth for most American families. Clearly GDP doesn’t provide the full picture. How do we know we’re on the right track? There is little consensus around what specific of indicators are required to quantify whether the economy is growing on behalf of all Americans. Is it a matter of looking at different already existing measures? Should new data using existing concepts of income and well-being be created? Do our concepts of what’s important to measure need updating as well? A better understanding of equitable growth—and how to measure it—can improve our understanding, inform decisions and lead to better outcomes for all.

The “What is equitable growth” series of essays

Why current definitions of family income are misleading, and why this matters for measures of inequality
By Nancy Folbre, director of the program on gender and care work at the Political Economy Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Improving the measurement and understanding of economic inequality in the United States
By Robert Solow, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.