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The welfare economics of measuring sustainability: a new approach based on social choice theory and systems analysis

Islam, Sardar M. N. and Clarke, Matthew 2005, The welfare economics of measuring sustainability: a new approach based on social choice theory and systems analysis, Sustainable development, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 282-296, doi: 10.1002/sd.254.

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Title The welfare economics of measuring sustainability: a new approach based on social choice theory and systems analysis
Author(s) Islam, Sardar M. N.
Clarke, Matthew
Journal name Sustainable development
Volume number 13
Issue number 5
Start page 282
End page 296
Publisher John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Place of publication Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Publication date 2005
ISSN 0968-0802
1099-1719
Keyword(s) welfare economics
sustainability
social choice
Thailand
Summary This paper presents a new measure of sustainability within a welfare economics framework. Gross domestic product (GDP) can be used as an indicator of sustainability if the GDP estimates are undertaken within a cost-benefit analysis framework based on social choice perspectives. Sustainability is dependent on a healthy and functioning socio-economic and environmental (SEE) system. Economic development can damage the SEE system through resource degradation, over-harvesting and pollution. This paper addresses the tensions between economic development and sustainability by undertaking a number of SEE-based adjustments to GDP based on social choice perspectives in order to measure sustainability. These adjustments include the environmental and social costs caused by economic development such as water pollution, the depletion of non-renewable resources, and deforestation. Thailand is used as a case study for a 25 year period (1975-1999). The results show a divergence in terms of GDP per capita and the SEE-adjusted GDP per capita figure. The paper concludes that, with increasing environmental and social costs of economic development, pursuing such extreme high growth objectives without due environmental and social considerations can threaten present social welfare and future sustainability. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
Notes Published Online: 2 Jun 2005
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/sd.254
Field of Research 140202 Economic Development and Growth
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30009423

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of International and Political Studies
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