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The Measurement of Wealth: Recessions, Sustainability and Inequality

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  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

This paper considers two central problems in our statistical frameworks which impair the ability to use wealth to assess economic sustainability or the impacts of economic downturns. Some increases in wealth may reflect increased economic rents—in particular, land and exploitation rents—and their capitalized value, unrelated to an increase in the productive capacity of the economy. Another major problem in our wealth accounts is the “missing capital” required to explain the marked decrease in economic output, at the time of the recession and in the years following, that cannot be fully accounted for by a decrease in measured inputs. When account is taken of this missing capital, the adverse effects of austerity appear much greater than suggested by the standard national income accounts.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "The Measurement of Wealth: Recessions, Sustainability and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 21327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21327
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    Cited by:

    1. Ioanna Bardaka & Ioannis Bournakis & Georgia Kaplanoglou, 2018. "Total factor productivity (TFP) and fiscal consolidation: how harmful is austerity?," Working Papers 255, Bank of Greece.
    2. Rocco Zizzamia & Simone Schotte & Murray Leibbrandt & Vimal Ranchhod, 2016. "Vulnerability and the Middle Class in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 188, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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