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Counting Nonmarket, Ecological Public Goods: The Elements of a Welfare-Significant Ecological Quantity Index
James W. Boyd
RFF Discussion Paper 07-42 | August 2008
RESEARCH TOPICS:
Abstract
In this paper, I address a difficult, important, and long-standing problem in national income accounting: How to capture the welfare contributions of nonmarket, public environmental goods? The strategy I advocate here is to use principles from economic accounting, welfare economics, and environmental valuation to define the nonmarket units that should be used in a quantity index of ecological goods and services. A goal is to mimic the household-level foundations of conventional national income or product accounts, but extend them to the nonmarket natural economy. I describe the underlying theory and show how it can be used to define a practical, empirical strategy for constructing a welfare-significant ecological quantity index.
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