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Concept: Uneconomic growth


The argument that human society can decouple economic growth-defined as growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP)-from growth in environmental impacts is appealing. If such decoupling is possible, it means that GDP growth is a sustainable societal goal. Here we show that the decoupling concept can be interpreted using an easily understood model of economic growth and environmental impact. The simple model is compared to historical data and modelled projections to demonstrate that growth in GDP ultimately cannot be decoupled from growth in material and energy use. It is therefore misleading to develop growth-oriented policy around the expectation that decoupling is possible. We also note that GDP is increasingly seen as a poor proxy for societal wellbeing. GDP growth is therefore a questionable societal goal. Society can sustainably improve wellbeing, including the wellbeing of its natural assets, but only by discarding GDP growth as the goal in favor of more comprehensive measures of societal wellbeing.

Concepts: Gross domestic product, Sustainability, Peak oil, Society, Economic growth, Ecological economics, Decoupling, Uneconomic growth


We estimated rates of “absolute income mobility”-the fraction of children who earn more than their parents-by combining data from U.S. Census and Current Population Survey cross sections with panel data from de-identified tax records. We found that rates of absolute mobility have fallen from approximately 90% for children born in 1940 to 50% for children born in the 1980s. Increasing GDP growth rates alone cannot restore absolute mobility to the rates experienced by children born in the 1940s. However, distributing current GDP growth more equally across income groups as in the 1940 birth cohort would reverse more than 70% of the decline in mobility. These results imply that reviving the “American dream” of high rates of absolute mobility would require economic growth that is shared more broadly across the income distribution.

Concepts: Economics, Gross domestic product, Economic inequality, Economic growth, Welfare economics, United States Census Bureau, 1940, Uneconomic growth


Over the past three decades, twin studies have shown variation in the heritability of obesity. This study examined the difference of body mass index (BMI) heritability (BMI-H) by population characteristics, such as sex, age, time period of observation and average BMI, as well as by broad social-environmental factors as indicated by country-level gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and GDP growth rate.

Concepts: Time, Genetics, Obesity, Body mass index, Cultural studies, Gross domestic product, Economic growth, Uneconomic growth


The relationship between pollutant discharge and economic growth has been a major research focus in environmental economics. To accurately estimate the nonlinear change law of China’s pollutant discharge with economic growth, this study establishes a transformed nonlinear grey multivariable (TNGM (1,N)) model based on the nonlinear least square (NLS) method. The Gauss-Seidel iterative algorithm was used to solve the parameters of the TNGM (1,N) model based on the NLS basic principle. This algorithm improves the precision of the model by continuous iteration and constantly approximating the optimal regression coefficient of the nonlinear model. In our empirical analysis, the traditional grey multivariate model GM (1,N) and the NLS-based TNGM (1,N) models were respectively adopted to forecast and analyze the relationship among wastewater discharge per capita (WDPC), and per capita emissions of SO₂ and dust, alongside GDP per capita in China during the period 1996-2015. Results indicated that the NLS algorithm is able to effectively help the grey multivariable model identify the nonlinear relationship between pollutant discharge and economic growth. The results show that the NLS-based TNGM (1,N) model presents greater precision when forecasting WDPC, SO₂ emissions and dust emissions per capita, compared to the traditional GM (1,N) model; WDPC indicates a growing tendency aligned with the growth of GDP, while the per capita emissions of SO₂ and dust reduce accordingly.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Economics, Gross domestic product, Forecasting, Economic growth, Purchasing power parity, Uneconomic growth


Research on mortality modeling of multiple populations focuses mainly on extrapolating past mortality trends and summarizing these trends by one or more common latent factors. This article proposes a multipopulation stochastic mortality model that uses the explanatory power of economic growth. In particular, we extend the Li and Lee model (Li and Lee 2005) by including economic growth, represented by the real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, to capture the common mortality trend for a group of populations with similar socioeconomic conditions. We find that our proposed model provides a better in-sample fit and an out-of-sample forecast performance. Moreover, it generates lower (higher) forecasted period life expectancy for countries with high (low) GDP per capita than the Li and Lee model.

Concepts: European Union, Quality of life, Life expectancy, Gross domestic product, Forecasting, Economic growth, Uneconomic growth


This document investigated the causal relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, health spending and GDP growth for 51 countries (divided into three groups of countries: low-income countries; group of countries with lower and upper middle income; group of middle income countries) covering the annual period 1995-2013. Dynamic simultaneous-equations models and generalized method of moments (GMM) are used to investigate this relationship. The main results provide evidence of a causal relationship between the three variables. The empirical results show that there is a bidirectional causality between CO2 emissions and GDP per capita, between health spending and economic growth for the three groups of estimates. The results also indicate that there is a unidirectional causality from CO2 emissions to health spending, except low income group countries. We found that health plays an important role in GDP per capita; it limits its effect on a growing deterioration in the quality of the environment.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Economics, Gross domestic product, Economic growth, Emission standard, Global warming, Uneconomic growth


Research suggests that increases in gross domestic product (GDP) lead to increases in traffic deaths plausibly due to the increased road traffic induced by an expanding economy. However, there also seems to exist a long-term effect of economic growth that is manifested in improved traffic safety and reduced rates of traffic deaths. Previous studies focus on either the short-term, procyclical effect, or the long-term, protective effect. The aim of the present study is to estimate the short-term and long-term effects jointly in order to assess the net impact of GDP on traffic mortality.

Concepts: Time, Economics, Investment, Gross domestic product, Road transport, Economic growth, Uneconomic growth


Recent economic downturns have led many countries to reduce health spending dramatically, with the World Health Organization raising concerns over the effects of this, in particular among the poor and vulnerable. With the provision of appropriate health care, the population of a country could have better health, thus strengthening the nation’s human capital, which could contribute to economic growth through improved productivity. How much should countries spend on health care? This study aims to estimate the optimal health care expenditure in a growing economy. Applying the experiences of countries from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) over the period 1990 to 2009, this research introduces the method of system generalized method of moments (GMM) to derive the design of the estimators of the focal variables. Empirical evidence indicates that when the ratio of health spending to gross domestic product (GDP) is less than the optimal level of 7.55%, increases in health spending effectively lead to better economic performance. Above this, more spending does not equate to better care. The real level of health spending in OECD countries is 5.48% of GDP, with a 1.87% economic growth rate. The question which is posed by this study is a pertinent one, especially in the current context of financially constrained health systems around the world. The analytical results of this work will allow policymakers to better allocate scarce resources to achieve their macroeconomic goals.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Estimation theory, Economics, Gross domestic product, Economic growth, Macroeconomics, Uneconomic growth


Stroke accounts for more than 10% of all deaths globally and most of it occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Income inequality and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has been associated to stroke mortality in developed countries. In LMIC, GDP per capita is considered to be a more relevant health determinant than income inequality. This study aims to investigate if income inequality is associated to stroke mortality in Brazil at large, but also on regional and state levels, and whether GDP per capita modulates the impact of this association.

Concepts: Health care, United States, Gross domestic product, Economic growth, Purchasing power parity, Gini coefficient, Uneconomic growth


This study complements existing literature by examining the nexus between energy consumption (EC), CO2 emissions (CE), and economic growth (GDP; gross domestic product) in 24 African countries using a panel autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach. The following findings are established. First, there is a long-run relationship between EC, CE, and GDP. Second, a long-term effect from CE to GDP and EC is apparent, with reciprocal paths. Third, the error correction mechanisms are consistently stable. However, in cases of disequilibrium, only EC can be significantly adjusted to its long-run relationship. Fourth, there is a long-run causality running from GDP and CE to EC. Fifth, we find causality running from either CE or both CE and EC to GDP, and inverse causal paths are observable. Causality from EC to GDP is not strong, which supports the conservative hypothesis. Sixth, the causal direction from EC to GDP remains unobservable in the short term. By contrast, the opposite path is observable. There are also no short-run causalities from GDP, or EC, or EC, and GDP to EC. Policy implications are discussed.

Concepts: Causality, Quantum mechanics, Economics, Term, Gross domestic product, Economic growth, Macroeconomics, Uneconomic growth