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The Regional Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare for Flanders, Belgium

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  • Brent Bleys

    ()
    (Faculty of Business Administration and Public Administration, Ghent University College, Henleykaai 84, Ghent B-9000, Belgium)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, the regional Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) is compiled for Flanders for the period 1990–2009. The ISEW is a measure of economic welfare in that it measures the contribution of a country’s or region’s economy to the overall level of well-being of its citizens. It does so by comparing the benefits and the costs of economic activities rather than simply looking at the market value of all final goods and services produced in an economy (Gross Domestic Product-GDP). The ISEW for Flanders shows that the per capita level of sustainable economic welfare in the region decreased between 1990 and 2009. The drop in the ISEW/capita is caused by a deterioration of the net international investment position of Belgium (which is divided over the different regions in the country on a per capita basis) and by an increase in the income inequalities in Flanders. To a lesser extent, the increase of the environmental costs (climate change and the use of non-renewable energy resources) also contributed to the decrease in the ISEW per capita. In the last four years of the study period, the level of sustainable economic welfare in the Flemish region started to rise again, even in 2008 and 2009 during the economic recession.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 496-523

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:496-523:d:23310

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    Related research

    Keywords: ISEW; economic welfare; Beyond GDP; regional progress; Flanders; Belgium;

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    References

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    1. Posner, Stephen M. & Costanza, Robert, 2011. "A summary of ISEW and GPI studies at multiple scales and new estimates for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1972-1980, September.
    2. Lawn, Philip A. & Sanders, Richard D., 1999. "Has Australia surpassed its optimal macroeconomic scale? Finding out with the aid of 'benefit' and 'cost' accounts and a sustainable net benefit index," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 213-229, February.
    3. Nourry, Myriam, 2008. "Measuring sustainable development: Some empirical evidence for France from eight alternative indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 441-456, October.
    4. Wen, Zongguo & Zhang, Kunmin & Du, Bin & Li, Yadong & Li, Wei, 2007. "Case study on the use of genuine progress indicator to measure urban economic welfare in China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 463-475, August.
    5. Brent Bleys, 2012. "Beyond GDP: Classifying Alternative Measures for Progress," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 355-376, December.
    6. Bleys, Brent, 2008. "Proposed changes to the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare: An application to Belgium," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 741-751, February.
    7. Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
    8. Federico Maria Pulselli & Francesca Ciampalini & Enzo Tiezzi & Carlo Zappia, 2005. "The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) for a Local Authority: A Case Study in Italy," Department of Economics University of Siena 449, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    9. Samuel Fankhauser, 1994. "The Social Costs of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Expected Value Approach," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 157-184.
    10. Lawn, Philip A., 2003. "A theoretical foundation to support the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and other related indexes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 105-118, February.
    11. Pulselli, Federico M. & Bravi, Mirko & Tiezzi, Enzo, 2012. "Application and use of the ISEW for assessing the sustainability of a regional system: A case study in Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 766-778.
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