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Empirical testing of genuine savings as an indicator of weak sustainability: a three-country analysis of long run trends

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  • Blum, Matthias
  • Greasley, David
  • Hanley, Nicholas
  • Kunnas, Jan
  • McLaughlin, Eoin
  • Oxley, Les
  • Warde, Paul

Abstract

Genuine Savings has emerged as a widely-used indicator of sustainable development. In this paper, we use long-term data stretching back to 1870 to undertake empirical tests of the relationship between Genuine Savings (GS) and future well-being for three countries: Britain, the USA and Germany. Our tests are based on an underlying theoretical relationship between GS and changes in the present value of future consumption. Based on both single country and panel results, we find evidence supporting the existence of a cointegrating (long run equilibrium) relationship between GS and future well-being, and fail to reject the basic theoretical result on the relationship between these two macroeconomic variables. This provides some support for the GS measure of weak sustainability. We also show the effects of modelling shocks, such as World War Two and the Great Depression.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2014-03.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2014-03

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Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page: http://www.econ.stir.ac.uk/
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Keywords: cointegration; indicators; economic history; comprehensive investment; Genuine Savings; Weak sustainability;

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  1. Perron, P., 1994. "Further Evidence on Breaking Trend Functions in Macroeconomic Variables," Cahiers de recherche 9421, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. DeLong, J. Bradford & Eichengreen, Barry, 1991. "The Marshall Plan: History's Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3b1108bj, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  7. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  8. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
  9. Hamilton, Kirk & Clemens, Michael, 1999. "Genuine Savings Rates in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 333-56, May.
  10. Kao, Chihwa, 1999. "Spurious regression and residual-based tests for cointegration in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 1-44, May.
  11. Pezzey, John C.V. & Hanley, Nick & Turner, Karen & Tinch, Dugald, 2006. "Comparing augmented sustainability measures for Scotland: Is there a mismatch?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 60-74, April.
  12. 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.
  13. Robin L. Lumsdaine & David H. Papell, 1997. "Multiple Trend Breaks And The Unit-Root Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 212-218, May.
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