As a research organization we like data. We worry about the best indicators, for anything.
For the longest time, per capita GDP has been the simplest, least-imperfect indicator of prosperity. It has many shortcomings, but the alternatives have more. The newest run at it zooms in on happiness. If people in country A are happier than those in country B, why bother with anything else? I agree. But measuring happiness is no easy task.
My candidate is the net out-migration rate. Lower the out migration rate, the happier the people in the country must be. I know the numbers are iffy, but still, we work with lots of iffy numbers in our business.
I tested the hypothesis. Took the 13 countries with the highest growth rates in the post-war period and compared their net out migration rates with two countries that score well on PQLI: Cuba and Sri Lanka. The high PQLI countries have significantly higher out-migration rates.
The report below from NYT suggests others may be thinking on same lines:
ACCORDING to a recent Gallup World Poll, 1.1 billion people, or one-quarter of the earth’s adults, want to move temporarily to another country in the hope of finding more profitable work. An additional 630 million people would like to move abroad permanently.