Sustainable development: conceptualizations and measurement

Vol. 28 No. 2 (2008)

Apr-Jun / 2008
Published April 1, 2008

How to Cite

Mueller, Charles C. 2008. “Sustainable Development: Conceptualizations and Measurement: ”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 28 (2):207-25.

Sustainable development: conceptualizations and measurement

Charles C. Mueller
Departamento de Economia, UnB
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 28 No. 2 (2008), Apr-Jun / 2008, Pages 207- 225


The paper builds up from a review of some expected, but other quite surprising results regarding country estimates for the year 2000 of genuine saving, a sustainability indicator developed by a World Bank research team. We examine this indicator, founded on neoclassical welfare theory, and discuss one of its major problems. Theoretical developments from ecological economics are then considered, together with insights from Georgescu-Roegen’s approach to the production process, in search for an alternative approach. A model with potentially fruitful contributions in this direction is reviewed; it points the course efforts could take enable sustainability evaluations based on a more realistic set of interrelated monetary and biophysical indicators.

JEL Classification: Q32; Q56; Q57.

Keywords: development sustainability indicators