Articulating the goals of economic development and defining quality of life has drawn the attention of influential thinkers from Socrates to Sen. Attempts to quantify and compare economies as they pertain to these concepts have largely focused on the macroeconomy. In this study, the Metropolitan Development Index is created to measure development and quality of life in large, urban areas in the United States. The researchers then test the sensitivity of city rankings to the data used in constructing the index. These tests indicate that the index is a substantive conception of development and quality of life. Additionally, the index is positively correlated with both economic prosperity and an individual’s desire to reside in areas that offer higher levels of development and quality of life.
Published in Economic Development Quarterly, 2016, 30(1), pp. 32–45, Sage Publications http://edq.sagepub.com/