In 2010, the Quebec Employers Council published its first Report Card on Quebec Prosperity revealing Quebec’s main strengths and weaknesses. Despite the recent good performance of our province, which got through the recession in better shape than many other jurisdictions, certain aspects of Quebec’s economic long-term performance leave plenty to be desired compared with that of other Canadian provinces and countries around the world. Whether in terms of the major variable of collective wealth, or of other variables that will be analyzed below in greater depth, Quebec continues to lag behind. Our GDP per capita, which is compared in the following chart with that of three other Canadian provinces and Canada as a whole, as well as that of the United States and other OECD countries, ranks 20th among the 30 provinces and countries.
For some, prosperity should not be measured by only taking the GDP of a society into account, but it should also include a measure of the happiness and well-being of its population.(1) We are not contradicting the definition of prosperity – more of a social nature – embraced by many social players in Quebec. But we believe it is not the role of the Quebec Employers Council – representing employers – to gauge the level of happiness or the quality of life of Quebecers. We believe our role is to provide a reference on the economic progress of the province of Quebec.
Our premise is that the more a society promotes the creation and growth of its businesses, the more it encourages job and wealth creation and the high standard of living of its citizens along with it. The GDP per capita, despite its limitations – and for lack of the existence of a more comprehensive index – remains the leading measurable assessment of the well-being of the population of a given state and its ability to pay (notably for public services). We also believe a good number of our fellow citizens – although maybe still not a sufficient number – share this conviction.
And, it is noteworthy that many university studies have found economic prosperity and well-being are two closely linked variables.(2)
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- Many measures exist to try to evaluate people’s well-being, with each such measurement having its own characteristics and limitations. One of the most widely known is the famed Human Development Index. One of the OECD’s recent indexes is the Better Life Index. See, in particular, the recent analysis conducted by researchers Luc Godbout and Marcelin Joanis, of CIRANO, in the publication Le Québec économique 2011.
- See notably the Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson study published in the American Economic Review last May.