National economic performance is not necessarily the same thing as sustainable welfare. A number of social and environmental factors contribute to welfare, but remain excluded by conventional measures of economic performance such as the Gross National Product (GNP).
To remedy this, an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) was developed for the United States. The same methodology has since been applied to a number of other developed countries including the UK, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. The purpose of the present paper is to explore the application of the ISEW methodology to Sweden over the period between 1950 and 1992.
Preliminary results presented here indicate that some of the conclusions from earlier studies also hold for Sweden: in particular that, in the later years of the study, ISEW tends to stabilise in spite of continued growth in GNP. But there are also significant differences between Sweden and other countries. The paper discusses the implications of these differences both for the ISEW methodology and for environmental and economic policy-making in Sweden.