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A Contribution to the Theory of Welfare Comparisons

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  • Martin L. Weitzman

Abstract

Using only information based on current directly-observable market behavior, the paper shows how to make rigorous dynamic welfare comparisons among economies or economic situations having arbitrarily-different endowments and technologies, but sharing a common dynamic preference ordering. The correct answers to seemingly complicated questions, which intrinsically involve comparing wealth-like measures of dynamic well-being, can be translated isomorphically into a simple-minded story told in the familiar language of old-fashioned static consumer-welfare theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6988.

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Date of creation: Feb 1999
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Publication status: published as Weitzman, Martin L. "A Contribution To The Theory Of Welfare Accounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2001, v103(1,Mar), 1-23.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6988

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  1. Karl-Göran Mäler, 1991. "National accounts and environmental resources," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(1), pages 1-15, March.
  2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1997. " Sustainability and Technical Progress," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 1-13, March.
  3. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-68, May.
  5. Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
  6. William D. Nordhaus, 1995. "How Should We Measure Sustainable Income?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 1101, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicholas Oulton, 2004. "Productivity Versus Welfare; Or GDP Versus Weitzman's NDP," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(3), pages 329-355, 09.
  2. John Hartwick, 2001. "National Accounting with Natural and Other Types of Capital," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(4), pages 329-341, August.

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