ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Partha DasguptaSubscribe to Partha Dasgupta

The Nature of Economic Development and the Economic Development of Nature

This paper reviews and in part extends an emerging literature that integrates development and environmental thinking. It focuses on a small part of the literature: economic evaluation, and goes on to develop the notion of sustainable development and construct a unified language for sustainability and policy analyses. It is shown that by economic growth we should mean growth in wealth - which is the social worth of an economy's entire set of capital assets - not growth in gross domestic product nor the many ad hoc indicators of human development that have been proposed in recent years. The concept of wealth invites us to extend the notion of capital assets and the idea of investment well beyond conventional usage. The author also shows that by sustainable development we should mean development in which wealth (per head) adjusted for its distribution does not decline. This has radical implications for the way national accounts are prepared and interpreted. The author then provides an account of a recent publication that has put the theory to work by studying the composition of wealth accumulation in contemporary India. The study reveals that the entire architecture of contemporary development thinking is stacked against nature. These are still early days in the measurement of the wealth of nations, but both theory and the few empirical studies we now have at our disposal should substantially alter the way we interpret the progress and regress of nations.

Common Property Resources: Economic Analytics

Offering an alternative to impersonal markets and coercive states, the communitarian institutions built around common property resources have looked attractive to scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Oddly, economic theory has been missing from discussions on CPRs, making it difficult to judge the status of empirical works, which, in the case of CPRs, have mainly been case studies. This paper presents a fairly complete economic theory of CPRs, identifying not only the circumstances in which communitarian institutions can function well, but also showing when these institutions could be expected to unravel. The theory also identifies an especially dark side of communitarian institutions, namely, their capacity to permit one group to exploit another within long-term relationships.

Well-Being in Poor Countries

Well-Being in Poor Countries Partha Dasgupta The current consensus on ways of measuring the quality of life, the author argues, is premature because these measures are misleading. They neglect aspects of living of the most profound value to personhood. An attempt is made here to see how some of these aspects can be included in measures of well-being and a preliminary ranking of the world's poorest countries on this wider basis is provided. This new ranking is compared with those based on customary measures of living standard. Finally, the author examines whether as a matter of fact poor countries are faced with cruel choices among competing constituents of well-being.

Public Sector Pricing Rules

Public Sector Pricing Rules Partha Dasgupta This paper is concerned with giving a brief account of the rules that governments would want to follow (and, therefore, putative rules that they would not) in evaluating public sector projects under various plausible sets of constraints that governments may face in imposing taxes.
Back to Top