This setting lets you change the way you view articles. You can choose to have articles open in a dialog window, a new tab, or directly in the same window.
Open in Dialog
Open in New Tab
Open in same window

Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 18 No. 3 (Summer 2004)

Expand

Quick Tools:

Print Article Summary
Export Citation
Sign up for Email Alerts Follow us on Twitter

Explore:

JEP - All Issues


Are We Consuming Too Much?

Article Citation

Arrow, Kenneth, Partha Dasgupta, Lawrence Goulder, Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Geoffrey Heal, Simon Levin, Karl-Göran Mäler, Stephen Schneider, David Starrett, and Brian Walker. 2004. "Are We Consuming Too Much?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(3): 147-172.

DOI: 10.1257/0895330042162377

Abstract

This paper articulates and applies frameworks for examining whether consumption is excessive. We consider two criteria for the possible excessiveness (or insufficiency) of current consumption. One is an intertemporal utility-maximization criterion: actual current consumption is deemed excessive if it is higher than the level of current consumption on the consumption path that maximizes the present discounted value of utility. The other is a sustainability criterion, which requires that current consumption be consistent with non-declining living standards over time. We extend previous theoretical approaches by offering a formula for the sustainability criterion that accounts for population growth and technological change. In applying this formula, we find that some poor regions of the world are failing to meet the sustainability criterion: in these regions, genuine wealth per capita is falling as investments in human and manufactured capital are not sufficient to offset the depletion of natural capital.

Article Full-Text Access

Full-text Article (Complimentary)

Authors

Arrow, Kenneth
Dasgupta, Partha
Goulder, Lawrence
Daily, Gretchen
Ehrlich, Paul
Heal, Geoffrey
Levin, Simon
Mäler, Karl-Göran
Schneider, Stephen
Starrett, David
Walker, Brian

Comments

View Comments on This Article (0) | Login to post a comment


Journal of Economic Perspectives


Quick Tools:

Sign up for Email Alerts

Follow us on Twitter

Subscription Information
(Institutional Administrator Access)

Explore:

JEP - All Issues

Virtual Field Journals


AEA Member Login:


AEAweb | AEA Journals | Contact Us