NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Kenneth Arrow

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Working Papers

December 2010Sustainability and the Measurement of Wealth
with Partha Dasgupta, Lawrence H. Goulder, Kevin J. Mumford, Kirsten Oleson: w16599
We develop a consistent and comprehensive theoretical framework for assessing whether economic growth is compatible with sustaining well-being over time. The framework focuses on whether a comprehensive measure of wealth – one that accounts for natural capital and human capital as well as reproducible capital – is maintained through time. Our framework also integrates population growth, technological change, and changes in health. We apply the framework to five countries that differ significantly in stages of development and resource bases: the United States, China, Brazil, India, and Venezuela. With the exception of Venezuela, significant increases in human capital enable comprehensive wealth to be maintained (and sustainability to be achieved) despite significant reductions in the n...

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