Sustainability and the Measurement of Wealth
AbstractWe develop a consistent and comprehensive theoretical framework for assessing whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining well-being over time. The framework focuses on whether a comprehensive measure of wealth – one that accounts for natural capital and human capital as well as reproducible capital – is maintained through time. Our framework also integrates population growth, technological change, and changes in health. We apply the framework to five countries that differ significantly in stages of development and resource bases: the United States, China, Brazil, India, and Venezuela. With the exception of Venezuela, significant increases in human capital enable comprehensive wealth to be maintained (and sustainability to be achieved) despite significant reductions in the natural resource base. We find that the value of “health capital” is very large relative to other forms of capital. As a result, its growth rate critically influences the growth rate of per-capita comprehensive wealth.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16599.
Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Other versions of this item:
- D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
- O10 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
- O47 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
- O50 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
- Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
- Q39 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Other
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-12-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2010-12-18 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2010-12-18 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-HAP-2010-12-18 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HRM-2010-12-18 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
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