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On the Choice of Metrics in Dynamic Welfare Analysis: Utility versus Money Measures

Author

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  • Li, Chuan-Zhong

    (Dalarna University)

  • Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf

    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the choice of metrics for social cost-benefit analysis and dynamic welfare comparisons. In a utility-theoretic framework, we show that there is always a money measure that can serve as a substitute for the maximized utility wealth. Thus, under the non-arbitrage course of discount rate, the choice between utility and money measures has no real effect on project evaluations. We also define a generalized comprehensive net national product measure with a consumer surplus term incorporated, which is completely consistent with the Weitzman foundation. It is shown that while a green (comprehensive) NNP growth simply reflects the income effect, the change in consumer surplus captures the welfare effect of relative price changes. We argue that the reason for green NNP to be a weak welfare indicator is not due to its choice of money metric per se but the ignorance of a consumer surplus term.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Chuan-Zhong & Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2002. "On the Choice of Metrics in Dynamic Welfare Analysis: Utility versus Money Measures," Umeå Economic Studies 590, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0590
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    5. Vincent, Jeffrey R., 2000. "Green accounting: from theory to practice," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 13-24, February.
    6. Asheim, Geir B. & Weitzman, Martin L., 2001. "Does NNP growth indicate welfare improvement?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 233-239, November.
    7. Per-Olov Johansson & Karl-Gustaf Löfgren, 1996. "On the interpretation of ‘green’ NNP measures as cost-benefit rules," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(3), pages 243-250, April.
    8. Aronsson, Thomas & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 1999. "Welfare equivalent NNP under distributional objectives," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 239-243, May.
    9. Dasgupta, Partha & Mã„Ler, Karl-Gã–Ran, 2000. "Net national product, wealth, and social well-being," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 69-93, February.
    10. Martin L. Weitzman, 2001. "A Contribution to the Theory of Welfare Accounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 1-23, March.
    11. Turner, Paul & Tschirhart, John, 1999. "Green accounting and the welfare gap," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 161-175, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Asheim, Geir B., 2007. "Can NNP be used for welfare comparisons?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 11-31, February.
    2. Geir B. Asheim, 2010. "Global welfare comparisons," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(4), pages 1412-1432, November.
    3. Thomas Aronsson, 2010. "Welfare Measurement, Involuntary Unemployment, And Heterogeneity," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(3), pages 559-571, September.
    4. Sjögren, Tomas, 2016. "Age Dependent Discount Rates, Time Inconsistent Behavior and Welfare Measurement," Umeå Economic Studies 934, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    5. Geir B. Asheim, 2003. "Green national accounting for welfare and sustainability:A Taxonomy Of Assumptions And Results," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(2), pages 113-130, May.
    6. Li, Chuan-Zhong & Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2004. "The Role of the Hamiltonian in Dynamic Price Index Theory," Umeå Economic Studies 626, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    7. Aronsson, Thomas & Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2007. "Welfare Theory: History and Modern Results," Umeå Economic Studies 726, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    8. Gancho Todorov Ganchev, 2010. "On the Utility of Money," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 32-60.
    9. Aronsson, Thomas, 2004. "Social Accounting and the Public Sector," Umeå Economic Studies 644, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    10. Li, Chuan-Zhong & Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2012. "Growth, Pollution, and Money-Metric Welfare in Imperfect Markets," CERE Working Papers 2012:15, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
    11. Li, Chuan-Zhong & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2006. "Comprehensive NNP, social welfare, and the rate of return," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 254-259, February.
    12. Cairns, Robert D. & Lasserre, Pierre, 2006. "Implementing carbon credits for forests based on green accounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 610-621, April.
    13. Asheim, Geir B., 2005. "Welfare comparisons between societies with different population sizes and environmental characteristics," Memorandum 25/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    14. Yamaguchi, Rintaro & Managi, Shunsuke, 2019. "Backward- and Forward-looking Shadow Prices in Inclusive Wealth Accounting: An Example of Renewable Energy Capital," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 337-349.
    15. Samakovlis, Eva, 2008. "How are Green National Accounts Produced in Practice?," Working Papers 105, National Institute of Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dynamic cost-benefit analysis; green national accounting; utility versus money metrics; Weitzman´s theorem;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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