Sustainability and Well-being Indicators
This paper provides a review and critical discussion of indicators, which attempt to combine the measurement of sustainability with that of well-being. It starts with some commonly agreed definitions of sustainability, showing how most well-being indicators tell us little if anything at all about this issue. Sustainability is most commonly defined in economics as non-declining utility or well-being over time. Yet, due to its future orientation, most indicators of sustainability such as Genuine Savings (GS) have merely focused on the capacity to provide utility in the future, but have not included the measurement of current well-being. Indicators of well-being such as the Human Development Index (HDI), on the other hand, have typically failed to account for sustainability in their measurement of current well-being. The paper then critically reviews the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) and the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), which are the most prominent examples of an indicator, which attempts to fully integrate the measurement of welfare with that of sustainability into one single indicator. Such an integration, whilst seemingly attractive, is rendered difficult by the fact that what contributes to current well-being need not contribute at all or in the same way to sustainability and vice versa. We also review various proposals of extending a welfare indicator, namely the HDI, with sustainability considerations without full integration of both concepts. All of these proposals suffer from a range of fundamental conceptual problems. As one possible alternative, we propose a combination of the HDI and GS, which holds great promise for an assessment of wellbeing and its sustainability, particularly in developing countries.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
|Date of creation:||2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Katajanokanlaituri 6B, 00160 Helsinki|
Web page: http://www.wider.unu.edu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anand, Sudhir & Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Human Development and Economic Sustainability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2029-2049, December.
- Geir Asheim, 2004.
"Green national accounting with a changing population,"
Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 23(3), pages 601-619, March.
- Asheim, Geir, 2003. "Green national accounting with a changing population," Memorandum 06/2003, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Smith, Douglas, 2001. "International evidence on how income inequality and credit market imperfections affect private saving rates," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 103-127, February.
- Kenneth J. Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Göran Mäler, 2003. "The genuine savings criterion and the value of population," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 21(2), pages 217-225, 03.
- Michael Hagerty & Robert Cummins & Abbott Ferriss & Kenneth Land & Alex Michalos & Mark Peterson & Andrew Sharpe & Joseph Sirgy & Joachim Vogel, 2001. "Quality of Life Indexes for National Policy: Review and Agenda for Research," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 1-96, July.
- Hamilton, Clive, 1999. "The genuine progress indicator methodological developments and results from Australia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 13-28, July.
- Hamilton, Kirk, 1996. "Pollution and Pollution Abatement in the National Accounts," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(1), pages 13-33, March.
- Weitzman, Martin L, 1997. " Sustainability and Technical Progress," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 1-13, March.
- Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 1997.
"Does Income Inequality Raise Aggregate Saving?,"
Working Papers Central Bank of Chile
08, Central Bank of Chile.
- M. Qizilbash, 2001. "Sustainable Development: Concepts and Rankings," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 134-161.
- Farhad Noorbakhsh, 1998. "The human development index: some technical issues and alternative indices," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(5), pages 589-605.
- Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
- William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1973.
"Is Growth Obsolete?,"
in: The Measurement of Economic and Social Performance, pages 509-564
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hamilton, Kirk, 1994. "Green adjustments to GDP," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 155-168, September.
- Osberg, Lars & Sharpe, Andrew, 2002. "An Index of Economic Well-Being for Selected OECD Countries," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 291-316, September.
- Mark McGillivray & Howard White, 1993. "Measuring development? The UNDP's human development index," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(2), pages 183-192, 03.
- Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Valuing Objects and Evaluating Policies in Imperfect Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C1-29, May.
- Eisner, Robert, 1988. "Extended Accounts for National Income and Product," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1611-84, December.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2000. "On the methodology of ISEW, GPI and related measures: some constructive suggestions and some doubt on the 'threshold' hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 347-361, September.
- repec:reg:rpubli:132 is not listed on IDEAS
- Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2002. "International Comparisons of Trends in Economic Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 349-382, June.
- M.C. de la Vega & A.M. Urrutia, 2001. "HDPI: A Framework for Pollution-Sensitive Human Development Indicators," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 199-215, September.
- Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
- Castaneda, Beatriz E., 1999. "An index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) for Chile," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 231-244, February.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2000. "In defence of historical accountability for greenhouse gas emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 185-192, May.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2001. "The human development index and sustainability -- a constructive proposal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 101-114, October.
- Stockhammer, Engelbert & Hochreiter, Harald & Obermayr, Bernhard & Steiner, Klaus, 1997. "The index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) as an alternative to GDP in measuring economic welfare. The results of the Austrian (revised) ISEW calculation 1955-1992," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-34, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2004-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruck Tadesse)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.