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Can NNP be used for welfare comparisons?

This paper contains a critical assessment of the claim that nnp can be used for welfare comparisons. The analysis assumes that national accounts are comprehensive (in particular, “greened” by taking into account environmental amenities and natural resource depletion), but does not assume optimal resource allocation. The general conclusion is that greater nnp does not correspond to welfare enhancement, unless the net investment flows are revalued. Real utility-nnp, and real measurable nnp made comparable across time by means of a consumer price index, allow for such revaluation, and thus indicate welfare improvement.

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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 24/2005.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 29 Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2005_024
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
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  1. Weitzman, Martin L, 2001. " A Contribution to the Theory of Welfare Accounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 1-23, March.
  2. Asheim, Geir & Buchholz, Wolfgang, 2003. "A General Approach to Welfare Measurement through National Income Accounting," Memorandum 32/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Asheim, Geir B. & Weitzman, Martin L., 2001. "Does NNP growth indicate welfare improvement?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 233-239, November.
  5. Asheim, Geir B., 2005. "Welfare comparisons between societies with different population sizes and environmental characteristics," Memorandum 25/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  6. Kenneth Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Göran Mäler, 2003. "Evaluating Projects and Assessing Sustainable Development in Imperfect Economies," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(4), pages 647-685, December.
  7. Pezzey, John C V & Withagen, Cees A, 1998. " The Rise, Fall and Sustainability of Capital-Resource Economies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 513-27, June.
  8. Geir B. Asheim, 2002. "Green National Accounting for Welfare and Sustainability: A Taxonomy of Assumptions and Results," CESifo Working Paper Series 827, CESifo Group Munich.
  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. Martin L. Weitzman, 1970. "Aggregation and Disaggregation in the Pure Theory of Capital and Growth: A New Parable," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 292, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  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. Dixit, Avinash & Hammond, Peter & Hoel, Michael, 1980. "On Hartwick's Rule for Regular Maximin Paths of Capital Accumulation and Resource Depletion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 551-56, April.
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