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Depreciation and Obsolescence in the Context of Natural Resource Accounting

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  • Harris, Michael
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    Abstract

    Conventional national accounting practice emphasises depreciation as both a physical loss in productive capital and an economic loss due to obsolescence. This emphasis is only partially paralleled in prescriptions for natural resource accounting, where resource depletion is typically treated as “physical capital depreciation”. Depreciation resulting from obsolescence—and thus relative price changes rather than physical wastage—does not feature in resource accounting. The question is, what (if anything) does a consideration of obsolescence imply for work in resource accounting? What price changes should be incorporated into revised accounts, and when are they distinct from capital gains/losses? What is the connection between obsolescence and productivity change? What “counterfactual” should apply for renewable resources? This paper contains some tentative explorations of these questions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia with number 57886.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aare03:57886

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    Keywords: Land Economics/Use; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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    1. Bradford, David F, 1990. "Extended Accounts for National Income and Product: Comment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1183-86, September.
    2. Dan Usher, 1973. "The Measurement of Economic Growth," Working Papers 145, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    3. Usher, Dan, 1994. "Income and the Hamiltonian," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(2), pages 123-41, June.
    4. Weitzman, Martin L, 1997. " Sustainability and Technical Progress," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 1-13, March.
    5. Harris, Michael & Fraser, Iain, 2002. "Natural resource accounting in theory and practice: A critical assessment," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 46(2), June.
    6. Martin Neil Baily, 1981. "Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 1-66.
    7. Scott, Maurice, 1990. "Extended Accounts for National Income and Product: A Comment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1172-79, September.
    8. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    9. Hicks, J. R., 1975. "Value and Capital: An Inquiry into some Fundamental Principles of Economic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780198282693, October.
    10. Solow, Robert M, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 141-49.
    11. Asheim, Geir B., 1996. "Capital gains and net national product in open economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 419-434, March.
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