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Testing the predictive power of genuine savings as a long-run indicator of future well-being

Listed author(s):
  • David Greasley
  • Nick Hanley
  • Jan Kunnas
  • Eoin McLaughlin
  • Les Oxley
  • Paul Warde

This paper reports the first long-run test of how Genuine Savings (also called comprehensive investment or adjusted net savings) predicts future well-being. The theory of weak sustainability suggests that a country with a positive level of Genuine Savings (GS) should experience non-declining future utility. Despite the widespread uptake of GS, previous tests of its predictive power are for short time intervals. We assemble data for British capital back to 1750, and construct several net investment measures which are used to predict two alternative measures of future well-being: future consumption per capita and real wages. An allowance for a “value of time” due to technological progress is also included. Our results show that GS-type measures can predict changes in future well-being reasonably well over 50 or 100 years into the future.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEH Discussion Papers with number 007.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:007
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  1. Trinh Le & John Gibson & Les Oxley, 2006. "A Forward-Looking Measure Of The Stock Of Human Capital In New Zealand," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(5), pages 593-609, 09.
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