We present estimates of welfare by country for 2007 and 2014 using the methodology of Jones and Klenow (2016) which incorporates consumption, leisure, mortality and inequality, and we extend the methodology to include environmental externalities. During the period of the global financial crisis welfare grew slightly more rapidly than income per capita, mainly due to improvements in life expectancy. This led to welfare convergence in most regions towards advanced country levels. Introducing environmental effects changes the welfare ranking for countries that rely heavily on natural resources, highlighting the importance of the natural resource base in welfare. This methodology could provide a theoretically consistent and tractable way of monitoring progress in several Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators.
Gail Cohen, João Tovar Jalles, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Ricardo Marto
Recent discussions of the extent of decoupling between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and real gross domestic product (GDP) provide mixed evidence and have generated much debate. We show that to get a clear picture of decoupling it is important to distinguish cycles from trends: there is an Environmental Okun's Law (a cyclical relationship between emissions and real GDP) that often obscures the trend relationship between emissions and real GDP. We show that, once the cyclical relationship is accounted for, the trends show evidence of decoupling in richer nations—particularly in European countries, but not yet in emerging markets. The picture changes somewhat, however, if we take into consideration the effects of international trade, that is, if we distinguish between production-based and consumption-based emissions. Once we add in their net emission transfers, the evidence for decoupling among the richer countries gets weaker. The good news is that countries with underlying policy frameworks more supportive of renewable energy and supportive of climate change tend to have greater decoupling between trend emissions and trend GDP, and for both production- and consumption-based emissions.