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Measuring the immeasurable -- A survey of sustainability indices

  • Bohringer, Christoph
  • Jochem, Patrick E.P.

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921-8009(07)00202-9
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 1-8

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:63:y:2007:i:1:p:1-8
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Asheim,G.B. & Buchholz,W., 2000. "The Hartwick rule : myths and facts," Memorandum 11/2000, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Frederik Booysen, 2002. "An Overview and Evaluation of Composite Indices of Development," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 59(2), pages 115-151, August.
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