International debates on ‘social progress’ are currently rising (f.ex. International Panel on Social Progress – IPSP; Social Progress Imperative; Stiglitz/Sen/Fitoussi 2009: The Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress Revisited). In the context of these debates one is seeking to make social progress measurable and hence to overcome the limits of economic growth and GDP.
Step 1 of our project is to develop a theory-based concept of social progress in education and work. In doing so, we refer to the holistic approach set out in the IPSP. As a second step, we will select a set of indicators that encompass developments in the fields of education and work over the last decades with reference to social progress. The third step is to calculate those indicators in order to answer the question, if those developments can be considered socially progressive.
At a methodological level, we aim to develop a growth model within a latent variable modeling approach to examine the development of, and the interrelation between, several outcomes over time. In such a framework, the growth factors are conceptualized as domains that are measured by the selected indicators of a specific education or work field (e.g. quality of work, income). The selected indicators will be validated by specifying measurement models in order to check whether the data fits the hypothesized factor structure.