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Measures of wealth and well-being. A comparison between GDP and ISEW


  • V. Carta
  • M. Porcu


It is well known that, as a measure of well-being, the Gross Domestic Product does not reflect the real wealth of a country but just its monetary counterpart. Thus, it is not fit to differentiate between the costs that enhance welfare and those which, instead, undermine it. For this reason some corrective measures of well-being have been advanced in the literature, one of the most important is the so called Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare. The aim of this work is to explore some of the features of this measure and to calculate it for Italy up to year 2006 comparing it with the time series of Gross Domestic Product. In particular our purpose is to analyze whether the ISEW for Italy registered a decreasing trend as well as the ISEW of other countries. This negative trend was not visible in the previous studies because of the lack of recent data which could not allow to register the threshold point of the index.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Carta & M. Porcu, 2010. "Measures of wealth and well-being. A comparison between GDP and ISEW," Working Paper CRENoS 201006, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  • Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:201006

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    Cited by:

    1. Mirko Armiento, 2016. "The Sustainable Welfare Index for Italy, 1960-2013," Working Papers 1601, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2016.

    More about this item


    well-being; corrective measures; isew; gdp;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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