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Quantifying Sustainability: A New Approach and World Ranking

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Author Info

  • Carlo Carraro

    (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, FEEM and CMCC)

  • Lorenza Campagnolo

    (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, FEEM and CMCC)

  • Fabio Eboli

    (FEEM and CMCC)

  • Elisa Lanzi

    (FEEM and CMCC)

  • Ramiro Parrado

    (FEEM and CMCC)

  • Elisa Portale

    (World Bank)

Abstract

This paper proposes a new tool to assess sustainability and make the concept of sustainable development operational. It considers its multi-dimensional structure combining the information deriving from a selection of relevant sustainability indicators belonging to economic, social and environmental pillars. It reproduces the dynamics of these indicators over time and countries. Then, it aggregates these indicators using a new approach based on Choquet’s integrals. The main novelties of this approach are indeed: (i) the modelling framework, a recursive-dynamic computable general equilibrium used to calculate the evolution of all indicators over time throughout the world, and (ii) the aggregation methodology to reconcile them in one aggregate index to measure overall sustainability. The former allows capturing the sector and regional interactions and higher-order effects driven by background assumptions on relevant variables to depict future scenarios. The latter makes it possible to compare sustainability performances, under alternative scenarios, across countries and over time. Main results show that the current sustainability at world level differs from what the traditional measure of well-being, the GDP, depicts, highlighting the trade-offs among different components of sustainability. Moreover, in the next decade a slight decrease in world sustainability may occur, in spite of an expected increase in world domestic product. Finally, dedicated policies increase overall sustainability, showing that social and environmental benefits may be greater than the correlated economic costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2012.94.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2012.94

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Related research

Keywords: Sustainable Development; Sustainable Indicators; Computable General Equilibrium; Millennium Development Goals; Climate Change;

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References

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  1. Pearce, David W. & Atkinson, Giles D., 1993. "Capital theory and the measurement of sustainable development: an indicator of "weak" sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 103-108, October.
  2. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2004. "From R&D to Productivity Growth: Do the Institutional Settings and the Source of Funds of R&D Matter?," Working Papers CEB 04-010.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Fabio Eboli & Ramiro Parrado & Roberto Roson, 2009. "Climate Change Feedback on Economic Growth: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model," Working Papers 2009.43, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Ness, Barry & Urbel-Piirsalu, Evelin & Anderberg, Stefan & Olsson, Lennart, 2007. "Categorising tools for sustainability assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 498-508, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Caterina Cruciani & Silvio Giove & Mehmet Pinar & Matteo Sostero, 2012. "Constructing the FEEM Sustainability Index: A Choquet-Integral Application," Working Papers 2012.50, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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