Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Prosperity, sustainability and the measurement of wealth

By Kevin J. Mumford

11th June, 2016 - Economics and finance | Asia, The World

Gross domestic product (GDP) and household income measures provide invaluable metrics of economic activity in an economy, but they tell us little about the sustainability of the economic trends. National wealth accounting can be utilised to determine the size of the underlying productive base, which provides insight into the sustainability of economic activities and indicates the potential for intergenerational well-being. An empirical methodology was developed to measure wealth and then used to analyse multiple Asian countries. A common theme found across the Asian countries was the depletion of natural capital (forests, minerals and energy) and the development of human and produced capital. A strong correlation between growth in GDP per capita and wealth per capita was also found, but there are instances of GDP growth and wealth growth having different signs.

(Photo: Jeff Belmonte on flickr)

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