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A Contribution to the Theory of Welfare Comparisons

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  • Martin L. Weitzman

Abstract

Using only information based on current directly-observable market behavior, the paper shows how to make rigorous dynamic welfare comparisons among economies or economic situations having arbitrarily-different endowments and technologies, but sharing a common dynamic preference ordering. The correct answers to seemingly complicated questions, which intrinsically involve comparing wealth-like measures of dynamic well-being, can be translated isomorphically into a simple-minded story told in the familiar language of old-fashioned static consumer-welfare theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin L. Weitzman, 1999. "A Contribution to the Theory of Welfare Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 6988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6988
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William D. Nordhaus, 1995. "How Should We Measure Sustainable Income?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1101, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Weitzman, Martin L, 1997. " Sustainability and Technical Progress," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    5. Michael J. Boskin, 1998. "Consumer Prices, the Consumer Price Index, and the Cost of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Oulton, 2004. "Productivity Versus Welfare; Or GDP Versus Weitzman's NDP," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(3), pages 329-355, September.
    2. John Hartwick, 2001. "National Accounting with Natural and Other Types of Capital," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(4), pages 329-341, August.

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