that can affect the sustainability of economic growth, such as indicators that capture environmental impacts or changes in human well-being.1

Economic gain and public health are closely intertwined, said Balbus. Health is both a beneficiary and a prerequisite for sustainable economic development, and as such, a discussion of health in the context of sustainable economic frameworks will likely need to address the indicators and metrics that can encapsulate these externalities and their economic impact. This discussion may help inform the post-2015 development agenda process as the global community looks for a transformative framework to better link economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.


Kevin J. Mumford, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Economics
Purdue University

Kevin J. Mumford outlined his presentation as an introduction to national wealth accounting and using GDP to measure economic development, as well as addressing challenges that arise.

National Wealth Accounting

Mumford mentioned various ideas that have been proposed for adjusting GDP, including green or sustainable GDP measures. Other efforts to go beyond GDP include social indicators (e.g., life expectancy, unemployment, education, or a composite score like the Human Development Index) and environmental indicators (e.g., measures of water and air pollution, climate change, or forest cover). In addition, researchers have looked into direct measures of happiness, such as surveys that ask people to evaluate their well-being.


1 GDP measures the production of final goods and services. Among these may be both consumption and investment goods (as well as government goods and services and exports). The distinction between GDP and other measures of economic activity is that that GDP measures gross production without netting out capital depreciation or degradation.

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