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Augmenting the World Bank's estimates: Ireland's genuine savings through boom and bust

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  • McGrath, Luke
  • Hynes, Stephen
  • McHale, John

Abstract

The World Bank computes estimates of Genuine Savings (GS), a leading indicator of sustainable development, for most countries. A well-established literature has called for methodological enhancement. This paper presents augmented estimates of Irish GS throughout a period of unprecedented economic expansion and decline (1990–2016). A time-series constructed predominantly from national sources includes the most comprehensive coverage of pollutants in the literature surveyed. We apply a novel method to aid the property rights designation assessment required for transboundary pollutant accounting. In sharp contrast to the World Bank's estimates, our findings suggest that a modern developed economy can exhibit signs of unsustainability. Furthermore, extended environmental damages drive these results suggesting expanded country specific GS may diverge considerably from the World Bank's estimates. We find rapid economic development and rapid declines in environmental damages can occur concurrently and on the transition away from an unsustainable path.

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  • McGrath, Luke & Hynes, Stephen & McHale, John, 2019. "Augmenting the World Bank's estimates: Ireland's genuine savings through boom and bust," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:165:y:2019:i:c:13
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106364
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    2. Mentis, Alan & Moonsammy, Stephan, 2022. "A critical assessment of Guyana's sustainability pathway: Perspectives from a developing extractive economy," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    3. Luke McGrath & Stephen Hynes & John McHale, 2020. "Linking Sustainable Development Assessment in Ireland and the European Union with Economic Theory," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 51(2), pages 327-355.
    4. Luke McGrath & Stephen Hynes & John McHale, 2022. "The Air we Breathe: Estimates of Air Pollution Extended Genuine Savings for Europe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 68(1), pages 161-188, March.
    5. McGrath, Luke & Hynes , Stephen, 2020. "Approaches to accounting for our natural capital: Applications across Ireland," Working Papers 309501, National University of Ireland, Galway, Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit.

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