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Simplifying the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare: methodology, data sources and a case study for The Netherlands

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The compilation of the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) requires a large amount of data on a wide range of topics. Gathering these data is a very difficult task that has undoubtedly put off researchers in the past. First, this paper puts forward a Simplified ISEW (SISEW) that includes in its methodological framework only the quantitatively most important items. Reducing the number of items in the methodological framework of the ISEW does not only allow for an easier compilation of the index, also it indicates which items require most attention in the debate that will lead to an internationally agreed upon set of valuation methods. Next, the impact of working with the SISEW instead of the original ISEW is investigated for the studies on Belgium, the UK and Australia. Afterwards, the specific data needs for the items that satisfied the quantitative significance criterion are looked into and possible data sources for each item are reviewed. Finally, the SISEW is calculated for The Netherlands in order to see how readily available the data needed to compile the simplified index are in practice.

Keywords: Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, ISEW, Simplified Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, SISEW, The Netherlands, valuation, Belgium, UK, United Kingdom, Australia, economic activity, human welfare

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