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The Aggregation Problem: Implications for Ecological and Biophysical Economics

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  • Fix, Blair

    (York University)

Abstract

This paper discusses the dimension problem in economic aggregation, as it relates to ecological and biophysical economics. The dimension problem consists of a simple dilemma: when we aggregate, the observer must choose the dimension of analysis. The dilemma is that this choice affects the resulting measurement. This means that aggregate measurements are dependent on one's goals, and on underlying theory. I explore the consequences of this predicament for ecological and biophysical economics. I discuss the many problems of using 'real' monetary value as the dimension of analysis. And I highlight how the dimension problem undermines the practice of seeking 'optimal' policy. Although there are no solutions, I discuss ways that ecological and biophysical economists can deal with the dimension problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Fix, Blair, 2019. "The Aggregation Problem: Implications for Ecological and Biophysical Economics," SocArXiv tfwju, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:tfwju
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/tfwju
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. W. David Eberle & F. Gregory Hayden, 1991. "Critique of Contingent Valuation and Travel Cost Methods for Valuing Natural Resources and Ecosystems," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 649-687, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reiner Kümmel & Dietmar Lindenberger, 2020. "Energy in Growth Accounting and the Aggregation of Capital and Output," Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-10, March.

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