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A Critique of the Environmental Sustainability Index

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  • Raghbendra Jha

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  • K.V. Bhanu Murthy

Abstract

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) has been proposed by collaboration of the World Economic Forum, Geneva, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, and Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, New Haven as a measure of the overall state of the environment. This paper argues that the basic design of the ESI leaves much to be desired. It has conceptual problems in its visualization of environmental degradation and sustainability. The choice of variables as well as the statistical methodology of compiling the index is also found to be wanting. The paper then proposes an alternative methodology using Principal Components Analysis and argues that this is an improvement upon the ESI methodology. Given the likely use of aggregate environmental indexes in future environmental management, the critique advanced in this paper is of considerable significance.

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File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/publications/publish/papers/wp2003/wp-econ-2003-08.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2003-08.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2003-08

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Keywords: Environmental sustainability; Principal Components Analysis;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Gjertsen, Heidi & Barrett, Christopher B., 2003. "Context-Dependent Biodiversity Conservation Management Regimes: Theory and Simulations," Working Papers 127207, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  2. Frankel, Jeffrey & Rose, Andrew K., 2003. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," Working Paper Series rwp03-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Jha, Raghbendra & Bhanu Murthy, KV, 2001. "An Inverse Global Environmental Kuznets Curve," Departmental Working Papers 2001-02, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  4. William T. Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Molloy Wilson, 2002. "Reexamining The Empirical Evidence For An Environmental Kuznets Curve," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 541-551, August.
  5. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2000. "Environmental Regulations and FDI Inflows to U.S. States," Working Papers gueconwpa~00-00-06, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Siche, J.R. & Agostinho, F. & Ortega, E. & Romeiro, A., 2008. "Sustainability of nations by indices: Comparative study between environmental sustainability index, ecological footprint and the emergy performance indices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 628-637, July.
  2. J. Andres Dominguez & Teresa Noronha Vaz, 2011. "Contrasts in the governance structures in the transborder regions Andaluzia -Algarve," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1121, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Andreas Buehn, 2012. "Hold Your Breath: A New Index of Air Quality," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201226, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  4. Bhanu Murthy, K.V., 2007. "Social responsibility standards and global environmental accountability : a developing country perspective," MPRA Paper 2636, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Suhejla Hoti & Michael McAleer & Laurent L. Pauwels, 2004. "Modelling Environmental Risk," IHEID Working Papers 08-2004, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  6. Philipp Babcicky, 2013. "Rethinking the Foundations of Sustainability Measurement: The Limitations of the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI)," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 133-157, August.

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