Advances in Measuring Sustainable Development
8. Accounting for technological change INTRODUCTION To what extent will delivering sustainable development depend critically on the rate of technological change? For example, questions surrounding the importance of technological improvements in enhancing economic prospects and how these improvements come into being have been a lively source of debate in the economic growth literature (see, for a review, Barro and Salai-Martin, 1995; Jones, 1998). Much of this discussion is highly relevant to the problem of sustainability; that is, the conditions for its achievement and the measurement of progress towards sustainable development. It is perhaps surprising then that few proposed indicators of sustainability currently integrate technological change in any meaningful way. For example, the theory underpinning much of this literature, as for example outlined in chapters 2 and 3, is in large part a cautionary tale about the (net) accumulation of (per capita) total wealth rather than improvements in productivity. By and large, models which have been used to underline the importance of this savings approach have assumed, for simplicity, fixed technology, largely in order to examine critical but previously neglected measurement issues surrounding the liquidation of resource and environmental assets. If, in reality, there is technological change, estimates of income and saving based on these simple models may not accurately inform prospects for sustainable development. This last point has been made forcefully in Nordhaus (1995), Weitzman (1997) and Weitzman and Löfgren (1997).1 For example, in Weitzman and Löfgren, a green national accounting framework is extended in order to...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.