Date: 01 March 2014

Wealth is a stock, not a flow. The country with the highest flow of GDP in a particular year is not necessarily the richest country. The richest country has the highest capital stock, whether endowed or accumulated, implying a higher potential for future income and consumption. This should be obvious, yet concepts of wealth are often poorly understood or ignored. Many countries do not maintain adequate wealth accounts; those that do would admit that a great deal of work on national accounts remains to be completed. This is remarkable: investors would not accept corporate balance sheets of a quality akin to those of many countries. However, with progress on wealth accounting, including the accounting of natural wealth, this situation may be set to change, enabling the rate at which nations are becoming richer or poorer per capita to undergo popular examination. A focus on wealth, and changes in wealth, would lead to ...

Cameron Hepburn Kirk Hamilton

Economics of Sustainability


Type: paper

Hamilton, K. & Hepburn, C. (2014). 'Wealth'. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 30(1), pp.1–20.

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