Comprehensive Wealth, Intangible Capital, and Development

32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Date Written: October 1, 2010


Existing wealth estimates show that in most countries intangible capital is the largest share of total wealth. Intangible capital is calculated as the difference between total wealth and tangible (produced and natural) capital. This paper uses new estimates of total wealth, natural capital, and physical capital for a panel of countries to shed light on the constituents of the intangible capital residual. In a development-accounting framework, the authors show that factors of production are very successful in explaining the variation in output per worker when they use intangible capital instead of human capital as a factor of production. This suggests that intangible capital captures a broad range of assets typically included in the total factor productivity residual. Human capital is an important factor, both in statistical and economic terms, in regressions decomposing intangible capital.

Keywords: Economic Theory & Research, Banks & Banking Reform, Debt Markets, Investment and Investment Climate, Emerging Markets

Suggested Citation

Ferreira, Susana and Hamilton, Kirk, Comprehensive Wealth, Intangible Capital, and Development (October 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5452, Available at SSRN:

Susana Ferreira (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Kirk Hamilton

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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