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The usefulness of aggregate sustainability indicators for policy making: What do they say for Madagascar?

Ollivier, TO (2009): The usefulness of aggregate sustainability indicators for policy making: What do they say for Madagascar?

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Abstract

In this paper we compare the practical policy implications that can be derived from the calculation of three aggregate sustainability indicators for Madagascar. The chosen indicators are: the Adjusted Net Saving, the Genuine Progress Indicator, and the Ecological Footprint. Our results are twofold. First, these indicators provide very different messages regarding the sustainability of Madagascar’s recent development. The first one indicates a development path that is not sustainable, whereas the latter two do not indicate anything to be alarmed about. Second, they yield a set of widely diverse policy implications which we do not see as complementary. The Ecological Footprint provides policy recommendations that are too general for poor countries rich in natural resources, such as Madagascar. The Genuine Progress Indicator highlights several social issues but its interpretation in terms of sustainability remains ambiguous as it is a mix between a present welfare and a sustainability indicator. In the end, we consider that the Adjusted Net Saving provides the most consistent information to decision makers regarding the sustainability of Madagascar’s recent development path.

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