A comparison between GDP and ISEW in decoupling analysis

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Abstract

The assessment of decoupling between development and resource use is a central issue in current debates on sustainability. Traditionally, resource use intensity has been measured in terms of resource use units per economic growth unit using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This paper explores the use of the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) to complement the analysis of resource use intensity and the decoupling assessment, comparing the results obtained for two countries. The ISEW values for Portugal and the United States are computed for the period between 1960 and 2010, as well as estimates of the intensity of the use of several resources. We compare the empirical results of resource use intensity using the GDP and the ISEW, and also test the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). The results show that the ISEW has greater sensitivity in assessing resource use intensity and can provide additional and important information about countries'decoupling patterns. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Keywords

  • Decoupling
  • Resource use intensity
  • ISEW
  • GDP
  • EKC
  • ENVIRONMENTAL KUZNETS CURVE
  • PROGRESS INDICATOR GPI
  • ECONOMIC-GROWTH
  • INCOME
  • PRODUCT
  • WELFARE
  • LIMITS

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