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: |
Web page: http://www.wider.unu.edu/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Geir Asheim, 2004.
"Green national accounting with a changing population,"
Springer, 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.
- M.C. de la Vega & A.M. Urrutia, 2001. "HDPI: A Framework for Pollution-Sensitive Human Development Indicators," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 199-215, September.
- repec:reg:rpubli:132 is not listed on IDEAS
- Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. "In defence of historical accountability for greenhouse gas emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 185-192, May.
- 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.
- William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1971.
"Is Growth Obsolete?,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
319, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1973. "Is Growth Obsolete?," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Economic and Social Performance, pages 509-564 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1972. "Is Growth Obsolete?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect, Volume 5, Economic Growth, pages 1-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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:chb:bcchwp:08 is not listed on IDEAS
- Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2002. "International Comparisons of Trends in Economic Well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 349-382, June.
- Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000.
"Does income inequality raise aggregate saving?,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 417-446, April.
- Weitzman, Martin L, 1997. " Sustainability and Technical Progress," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 1-13, March.
- 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, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 1-96, July.
- Kenneth J. Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Göran Mäler, 2003. "The genuine savings criterion and the value of population," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 217-225, 03.
- 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.
- M. Qizilbash, 2001. "Sustainable Development: Concepts and Rankings," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 134-161.
- 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.
- Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
- 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.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2001. "The human development index and sustainability -- a constructive proposal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 101-114, October.
- Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Valuing Objects and Evaluating Policies in Imperfect Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C1-29, May.
- Hamilton, Kirk, 1994. "Green adjustments to GDP," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 155-168, September.
- Castaneda, Beatriz E., 1999. "An index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) for Chile," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 231-244, February.
- Anand, Sudhir & Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Human Development and Economic Sustainability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2029-2049, December.
- Hamilton, Clive, 1999. "The genuine progress indicator methodological developments and results from Australia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 13-28, July.
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.