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Income and the Hamiltonian

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  • Usher, Dan

Abstract

Among the many interpretations of real national income are (1) the return to national wealth and (2) the Hamiltonian of an appropriately-chosen dynamic model of the economy. These interpretations are sometiems alleged to be equivalent and to constitute the self-evidently ideal definition to which statistics of real national income should conform as closely as possible., The allegation is correct on some very restrictive assumptions about technology and taste. Otherwise, these interpretations are inconsistent, inexpedient as definitions of real national income and significantly at variance with the usage in the national accounts. The return to wealth is unmeasurable with the currently-available data. The Hamiltonian is typically in the wrong units. It is an accurate reflection of neither productive capacity nor welfare in an intertemporal context. It is not well-defined in a tax-distorted economy. It is rarely an indicator of the return to wealth. Copyright 1994 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 40 (1994)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 123-41

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:40:y:1994:i:2:p:123-41

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Cited by:
  1. Pezzey, John C.V., 2001. "Exact Measures of Income in Two Capital-Resource Economies," 2001 Conference (45th), January 23-25, 2001, Adelaide 125834, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  2. JA Sefton & MR Weale, . "The net national product and exhaustible resources: the effects of foreign trade," NIESR Discussion Papers 73, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  3. Pezzey, John C.V., 2004. "Exact measures of income in a hyperbolic economy," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 473-484, August.
  4. John C. V. Pezzey, 2001. "Exact measures of income in two capital-resource-time economies," Working Papers in Ecological Economics 0102, Australian National University, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Ecological Economics Program.
  5. Harris, Michael, 2003. "Depreciation and Obsolescence in the Context of Natural Resource Accounting," 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia 57886, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  6. Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Goran Maler, 1998. "Decentralization Schemes, Cost-Benefit-Analysis, and Net National Product as a Measure of Social Well-Being," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 12, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.

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