Global Welfare Comparisons

Geir B. Asheim

Canadian Journal of Economics

Volume 43, Issue 4, pages 1412–1432, November 2010


To provide a normative foundation for transfers between different economies, one needs information on their ‘per capita welfare.’ This paper considers various methods for doing this and reaches the following conclusions: (i) Such global welfare comparisons are more demanding than usually thought. (ii) The ranking of methods differs from that of local (over-time) comparisons, with real comprehensive per capita NNP being the least impractical method. The lesson is that global welfare comparisons should be performed with great care. The comparisons must be made in local real prices calculated according to ‘purchasing-power-parity,’ where non-traded environmental amenities play an important role.

Published Dec. 2, 2010 8:00 PM