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A General Approach to Welfare Measurement through National Income Accounting

  • Geir B. Asheim
  • Wolfgang Buchholz

We develop a framework for analyzing national income accounting using a revealed welfare approach that is sufficiently general to cover, e.g., both the standard discounted utilitarian and maximin criteria as special cases. We show that the basic welfare properties of comprehensive national income accounting, which were previously ascribed only to the discounted utilitarian case, in fact extend to this more general framework. In particular, it holds under a wide range of circumstances that real NNP growth (or equivalently, a positive value of net investments) indicates welfare improvement. We illustrate the applicability of our approach by considering resource allocation mechanisms in the Dasgupta-Heal-Solow model of capital accumulation and resource depletion.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 831.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_831
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  1. Pemberton, Malcolm & Ulph, David, 2001. " Measuring Income and Measuring Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 25-40, March.
  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. Cairns, Robert D., 2000. "Sustainability accounting and green accounting," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 49-54, February.
  4. Asheim,G.B. & Buchholz,W. & Tungodden,B., 1999. "Justifying sustainability," Memorandum 08/1999, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Heal, G., 1990. "The Optimal Use Of Exhaustible Resources," Papers fb-_90-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  7. M. L. Weitzman, 1974. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in Dynamic Economy," Working papers 125, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Asheim,G.B. & Weitzman,M.L., 2001. "Does NNP growth indicate welfare improvement?," Memorandum 02/2001, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Valuing Objects and Evaluating Policies in Imperfect Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C1-29, May.
  12. Hartwick, John M., 1990. "Natural resources, national accounting and economic depreciation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 291-304, December.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Avinash Dixit & Peter Hammond & Michael Hoel, 1980. "On Hartwick's Rule for Regular Maximin Paths of Capital Accumulation and Resource Depletion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 551-556.
  16. John Forth, 2001. "The low-paid worker and the low-paying employer: characterisations using WERS98," NIESR Discussion Papers 179, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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