Inderscience Publishers

Equity and sustainable development

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Sustainable development indicator (SDI) frameworks typically adopt a broad understanding of well-being, but an issue has been raised whether they should attempt to consider equity. It is generally accepted that SDI frameworks need to take into account inter-generational equity, but there is no similar consensus about intra-generational equity. This paper explores how intra-generational equity might be related to sustainable development. It takes the core elements of New Zealand's social security – employment, income, housing, health and education – and defines standards for what would be meant by equity for each element. It then proposes a statistical series for measuring departures from each standard and combines these statistics into a proposed equity index. The index is illustrated using New Zealand data in 1996, 2001 and 2006. Data for 2006 record almost no disparity between the male and female populations, but a substantial difference between the European/Pakeha and Maori populations.

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