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Comprehensive Wealth and Future Consumption: Accounting for Population Growth

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  • Susana Ferreira
  • Kirk Hamilton
  • Jeffrey R. Vincent

Abstract

Economic theory predicts that the current change in national wealth, broadly defined to include natural and human capital as well as produced capital ("genuine savings"), determines whether the present value of future changes in consumption is positive or negative. Theoretical research has focused on the effects of population growth on this relation, but no rigorous empirical investigation has been conducted. Panel data for 64 developing countries during 1970--82 are used to test the effects of three adjustments for population growth, including one that controls for omitted wealth. Although the adjustments have substantial impacts on estimates of genuine savings, they lead to only limited improvements in the relation between those estimates and subsequent consumption changes. Even without adjustments for population growth, adjustments for natural resource depletion improve the relation significantly. Policymakers and economists can interpret published estimates of genuine savings as signals of future consumption paths if and only if the estimates include adjustments for natural resource depletion. But better estimates of capital stocks are needed before it can be confidently said that adjustments for population growth significantly improve the accuracy of those signals. Copyright The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Susana Ferreira & Kirk Hamilton & Jeffrey R. Vincent, 2008. "Comprehensive Wealth and Future Consumption: Accounting for Population Growth," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 233-248, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:233-248
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhn008
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    Cited by:

    1. Hamilton, Kirk & Ley, Eduardo, 2010. "Measuring National Income and Growth in Resource-Rich, Income-Poor Countries," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 28, pages 1-7, August.
    2. Yamaguchi, Rintaro, 2014. "Inclusive wealth with a changing but aging population," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 21-25.
    3. Timothée, Ollivier, 2009. "Is Mozambican Growth Sustainable? A Comprehensive Wealth Accounting Prospect," MPRA Paper 16603, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Nick Hanley & Louis Dupuy & Eoin McLaughlin, 2015. "Genuine Savings And Sustainability," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 779-806, September.
    5. repec:laf:wpaper:201201 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ollivier, TO, 2009. "The usefulness of aggregate sustainability indicators for policy making: What do they say for Madagascar?," MPRA Paper 16607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Greasley, David & Hanley, Nick & Kunnas, Jan & McLaughlin, Eoin & Oxley, Les & Warde, Paul, 2014. "Testing genuine savings as a forward-looking indicator of future well-being over the (very) long-run," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 171-188.
    8. repec:cup:endeec:v:22:y:2017:i:06:p:674-698_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Greasley, David & Hanley, Nicholas & McLaughlin, Eoin & Oxley, Les, 2014. "The Emperor Has New Clothes: Empirical Tests of Mainstream Theories of Economic Growth," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2014-08, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    10. Louis Dupuy, 2012. "International Trade and Sustainability: A survey," Larefi Working Papers 1201, Larefi, Université Bordeaux 4.
    11. Gnègnè, Yacouba, 2009. "Adjusted net saving and welfare change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1127-1139, February.
    12. Matthias Blum & Eoin McLaughlin & Nick Hanley, 2014. "Accounting for Sustainable Development over the Long-Run:Lessons from Germany," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2014-10, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
    13. Arthur Grimes & les Oxley & Nicholas Tarrant, 2012. "Does Money Buy Me Love? Testing Alternative Measures of National Wellbeing," Working Papers 12_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    14. Ollivier, Timothée & Giraud, Pierre-Noël, 2011. "Assessing sustainability, a comprehensive wealth accounting prospect: An application to Mozambique," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 503-512, January.
    15. Matthias Blum & Cristián Ducoing & Eoin McLaughlin, 2016. "Genuine Savings in developing and developed countries, 1900-2000," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2016-15, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
    16. Pineda, Jose, 2012. "Sustainability and human development: a proposal for a sustainability adjusted HDI (SHDI)," MPRA Paper 39656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. repec:sss:wpaper:201401 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Greasley, David & McLaughlin, Eoin & Hanley, Nick & Oxley, Les, 2017. "Australia: a land of missed opportunities?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(06), pages 674-698, December.
    19. Edward Barbier, 2010. "Corruption and the Political Economy of Resource-Based Development: A Comparison of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(4), pages 511-537, August.
    20. Natalia Zugravu-Soilita & Vincent Geronimi & Christine Le Gargasson & Jessy Tsang King Sang, 2017. "Towards a less vulnerable and more sustainable development: heritage tourism in island economies," Working Papers 2017.11, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    21. Emanuele Felice, 2016. "The Misty Grail: The Search for a Comprehensive Measure of Development and the Reasons for GDP Primacy," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(5), pages 967-994, September.
    22. Blum, Matthias & Hanley, Nicholas & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2013. "Genuine savings and future well-being in Germany, 1850-2000," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2013-13, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    23. Lindmark, Magnus & Acar, Sevil, 2013. "Sustainability in the making? A historical estimate of Swedish sustainable and unsustainable development 1850–2000," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 176-187.
    24. Mota, Rui Pedro & Domingos, Tiago, 2013. "Assessment of the theory of comprehensive national accounting with data for Portugal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 188-196.

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