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Abstract The aim of this paper is to see if positive economic growth is related to increase in the well-being of the populations by considering the case study of the four French Ultra Peripheral Regions (UPR): Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Reunion. Economic growth is analyzed by observing the evolution of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita from 1997 to 2004. The GDP per capita is growing in the French UPR. It posted an increase of 37.1% in Guadeloupe, 16.8% in French Guiana, 31% in Martinique and 38.7% in Reunion during this period. The inadequacy of this indicator as measure of well-being is underlined, as is its use as a criterion of allocation of subsidies by the European Commission. The Human Development Indices (HDI) of the French UPR do not appear in the statistics of United Nations Development Program. The analyses show that the HDI of these regions are better than 0.80. The French UPR form part of the countries with high human development. An objective estimation of well-being is undertaken by constructing an Index of Economic Well-Being. It includes four components: the consumption dimension, the accumulation of stocks of productive wealth, economic inequality and poverty and economic security. The results show that economic growth is related to an increase in well-being. However, the economic security dimension does not always move in a favourable way. A subjective estimation is undertaken presenting the results of a survey of satisfaction of life in Martinique in 2008. It is noticed that the satisfaction of life in Martinique is equal to 2.80 (2.78 for women and 2.83 for men). It is lower than the national average for France which is equal to 3. Explanations of these results draw upon the effect of customs, social comparisons, relative income and adaptation.

September 22
Canadian Journal of Regional Science
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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