Nick Hanley

Professor of Environmental Economics, University of St Andrews

Academic Article

Historical wealth accounts for Britain: progress and puzzles in measuring the sustainability of economic growth

Estimates of Britain’s comprehensive wealth are reported for the period 1760–2000. They include measures of produced, natural, and human capital, and illustrate the changing composition of Britain’s assets over this time period. We show how genuine savings, GS (a year-on-year measure of the change in total capital and a claimed indicator of sustainable development) has evolved over time. Changes in total wealth are compared to alternative, investment-based measures of GS, including variants augmented with the value of exogenous technology. Additionally, the possible effects of population change on wealth, and the implications of including carbon-dioxide emissions in natural capital are considered.

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