That’s a main finding of our economic research, published in March with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. When we examined the development of nations worldwide since 1820, we found that among rich Western countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, and France, improvements in income, education, safety, and health tracked or even outpaced rising gross domestic product for over a century.
But in the 1950s, even as economic growth accelerated after World War II, well-being in these countries lagged. From the 1970s onward, growth in median incomes slowed down, as did education. Crime rose. In recent years, health outcomes have even declined.