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Weak support for weak sustainability: Genuine savings and long-term wellbeing in Sweden, 1850–2000
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics. Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9832-7866
2018 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 145, 339-345 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We study genuine savings as an indicator of long-term welfare for Sweden for the period 1850 to 2000. Sweden has developed long series of comprehensive ‘green’ national accounts for this entire period and is, therefore, interesting as a testing ground for the hypotheses linking green accounting and sustainability. We find support for the weakest of the hypotheses in the theoretical literature on weak sustainability and genuine savings, namely that genuine savings are correlated with future economic well-being. However, the stronger hypotheses in this literature are not supported: there is no one-to-one relationship between genuine savings and prosperity, there is no indication that the relationship becomes stronger for longer time horizons, or with more comprehensive savings measures. The findings suggest that genuine savings, at least as currently measured in national accounts and satellite accounts, may not be a good forward-looking indicator of future prosperity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 145, 339-345 p.
Keyword [en]
Genuine savings, Green national accounting, Weak sustainability, Historical national accounts, Sweden
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150645DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.11.015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150645DiVA: diva2:1169851
Available from: 2017-12-29 Created: 2017-12-29 Last updated: 2018-01-02Bibliographically approved

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