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A General Approach to Welfare Measurement through National Income Accounting

  • Geir B. Asheim
  • Wolfgang Buchholz

A framework is developed for analyzing national income accounting using a revealed welfare approach that is sufficiently general to cover, both the standard discounted utilitarian and maximin criteria as special cases. We show that the basic welfare properties of comprehensive national income accounting, previously ascribed only to the discounted utilitarian case, extend to this more general framework. In particular, under a wider range of circumstances, it holds that real NNP growth (or, equivalently, a positive value of net investments) indicates welfare improvement. We illustrate the applicability of our approach in the Dasgupta-Heal-Solow model of capital accumulation and resource depletion. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2004 .

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 106 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 361-384

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:106:y:2004:i:2:p:361-384
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  1. Weitzman, Martin L, 1976. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in a Dynamic Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 156-62, February.
  2. Asheim, Geir B, 1994. " Net National Product as an Indicator of Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 257-65.
  3. 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.
  4. Sefton, J. A. & Weale, M. R., 1996. "The net national product and exhaustible resources: The effects of foreign trade," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 21-47, July.
  5. Asheim, G.B. & Buchholz, W. & Tungodden, B., 1999. "Justifying Sustainability," Papers 5/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  6. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Burmeister, Edwin & Hammond, P J, 1977. "Maximin Paths of Heterogeneous Capital Accumulation and the Instability of Paradoxical Steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 853-70, May.
  8. Dixit, Avinash & Hammond, Peter & Hoel, Michael, 1980. "On Hartwick's Rule for Regular Maximin Paths of Capital Accumulation and Resource Depletion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 551-56, April.
  9. Cairns, Robert D., 2000. "Sustainability accounting and green accounting," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 49-54, February.
  10. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-74, December.
  11. Dasgupta, Partha & M Ler, Karl-G Ran, 2000. "Net national product, wealth, and social well-being," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 69-93, February.
  12. Pemberton, Malcolm & Ulph, David, 2001. " Measuring Income and Measuring Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 25-40, March.
  13. Asheim,G.B. & Weitzman,M.L., 2001. "Does NNP growth indicate welfare improvement?," Memorandum 02/2001, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  14. Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Valuing Objects and Evaluating Policies in Imperfect Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C1-29, May.
  15. Heal, Geoffrey M., 1993. "The optimal use of exhaustible resources," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneeseā€  & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 855-880 Elsevier.
  16. John Forth, 2001. "The low-paid worker and the low-paying employer: characterisations using WERS98," NIESR Discussion Papers 163, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  17. Hartwick, John M., 1990. "Natural resources, national accounting and economic depreciation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 291-304, December.
  18. Withagen, Cees & B. Asheim, Geir, 1998. "Characterizing sustainability: The converse of Hartwick's rule," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 159-165, September.
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