Wealth Accounting
Publication date: 30 January 2018, GMT
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Wealth Accounting - World Bank

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Wealth Accounting supplements macroeconomic indicators, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), by measuring the comprehensive wealth of a country. While changes in GDP tell us if growth is occurring, changes in wealth (i.e., saving rate) tell us if growth is sustainable-that is, whether it is long-term. So, just as private companies are assessed by looking at both income and balance sheets, countries need to start accounting for wealth and not just income. For the past 15 years, the World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice has implemented a program to systematically measure comprehensive wealth, to include natural resources, human, and social capital, along with physical capital. This work program provides indicators that measure the sustainability of a country’s growth path: some indicators are published annually, such as Adjusted Net Saving (ANS) and adjusted Net National Income (aNNI), while the comprehensive wealth accounts were published in 2011. Related annual indicators also include natural resource rents, which underlie the wealth accounting data.