Assessment of the theory of comprehensive national accounting with data for Portugal

Rui Pedro Mota, Tiago Domingos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We present time-series tests of the quality of genuine savings and green net national income for predicting welfare changes. These tests check the validity of the theory of comprehensive national accounting, and more broadly of the theory of economic growth. The value of technological progress is included, as well as the effects of business cycles. We use estimates for Portugal as inputs. Overall, our results indicate that both genuine savings and changes in green net national income have the same sign as changes in welfare, but reject the hypothesis that the estimated comprehensive national accounting measures coincide with the theoretical expressions. The results also suggest that comprehensive accounting indicators perform better than conventional national accounting indicators, implying that, in general, the corrections proposed by the comprehensive accounting theory add explanatory power to conventional measures. The exception is the inclusion of education expenditures and technological progress, which decrease explanatory power. Excluding business cycles from green net national income increases the agreement with the theory. Comparing both indicators, in general, genuine savings presents better results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Business cycles
  • Comprehensive national accounting
  • Economic growth
  • Genuine savings
  • Green net national income
  • Technological progress
  • Time series


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