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Measuring the immeasurable: a survey of substainability indices

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Jochem, Patrick

Abstract

Sustainability indices for countries provide a one-dimensional metric to valuate country-specific information on the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental, and social conditions. At the policy level, they suggest an unambiguous yardstick against which a country?s development can be measured and even a cross-country comparison can be performed. This paper reviews the explanatory power of various sustainability indices applied in policy practice. We show that these indices fail to fulfill fundamental scientific requirements making them rather useless if not misleading with respect to policy advice. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 06-73.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5466

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Keywords: Sustainability Indices; Composite Indicators; Sustainability; Indices;

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  1. Frederik Booysen, 2002. "An Overview and Evaluation of Composite Indices of Development," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 59(2), pages 115-151, August.
  2. Asheim, G.B. & Buchholz, W. & Withagen, C.A.A.M., 2002. "The Hartwick Rule: Myths and Facts," Discussion Paper 2002-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Ebert, Udo & Welsch, Heinz, 2004. "Meaningful environmental indices: a social choice approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 270-283, March.
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