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Sustainability and the measurement of wealth: further reflections

  • Kenneth J. Arrow (a1), Partha Dasgupta (a2), Lawrence H. Goulder (a3), Kevin J. Mumford (a4) and Kirsten Oleson (a5)...


The June 2012 issue of Environment and Development Economics published a symposium with considerable focus on our paper, ‘Sustainability and the measurement of wealth’. The Symposium also contained five articles in which other researchers offered valuable comments on our paper. The present note replies to those comments. It clarifies important issues and reveals how important questions relating to sustainability analysis can be fruitfully addressed within our framework. These include questions about the treatment of time, the use of shadow prices and the treatment of transnational externalities. This note also offers new theoretical results that help substantiate our earlier empirical finding that the value of human health is something very different from the value of the consumption permitted by health and survival.



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Arrow, K.J., Dasgupta, P., Goulder, L.H., Mumford, K.J., and Oleson, K. (2012), ‘Sustainability and the measurement of wealth’, Environment and Development Economics 17(3): 317353.
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Smulders, S. (2012), ‘An arrow in the Achilles' heel of sustainability and wealth accounting’, Environment and Development Economics 17(3): 368372.
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