Sustainable development: what does it mean, how can it affect decision-making, and can economics help?
In this paper, Richard Price examines the roots of sustainable development, and questions the usefulness of the many definitions and uses of the concept that have sprung up since the 1970s. He finds that the concept is often unhelpful in addressing policy questions, and that it is undermined by a lot of well-meaning but flawed thinking. He explores how the concept might be tightened up to give a useful guide to the choices faced when using environmental assets to deliver policy objectives. The paper sets the context for his review of the economics of sustainable development for the UK's Government Economic Service.