CRIW Measuring and Accounting for Environmental Public Goods: A National Accounts Perspective
Throughout the eighty years since national income accounts became a widely used tool of economic measurement, it has been recognized that they do not capture all of the factors affecting national well-being. The omission of measures of the quality of environmental public goods and valuations of pollution flows is an example of missing information. While a voluminous research literature has studied the valuation of non-market goods and developed various strategies for measurement, this research has not been widely applied in the construction of either national income accounts or national balance sheets.
To promote research on these issues, the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth (CRIW), in tandem with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and with the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will convene a research conference in Washington, DC, on March 16-17, 2023. The conference will feature presentations on the measurement of non-market public goods, with a focus on environmental public goods. Maureen Cropper (University of Maryland and NBER) and Sir Partha Dasgupta (University of Cambridge) will present keynote lectures. The conference will be organized by Nick Muller (Carnegie Mellon University and NBER) and Dylan Rassier (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).
The conference will draw together researchers from environmental and resource economics, macroeconomics, national income accounting, environmental science, and related fields to address measurement issues concerning environmental public goods. Topics that could be studied include:
- Alternative methods of estimating the value of non-market goods, particularly in the presence of heterogeneous valuations across households and across time;
- Historical estimates of the stock of environmental and other non-market goods, along with strategies for translating these stocks into economic magnitudes such as service flows or balance sheet entries;
- Analysis of how the measured rate of GDP growth compares with the growth of measures of economic welfare that incorporate time-varying levels of non-market goods in the U.S. or other economies;
- Development and application of tools that incorporate uncertainty into the valuation of non-market goods;
- Advances in valuation and recording of natural capital, ecosystem services, and pollution flows within the context of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA);
- Alternative methods for measuring and accounting the economic implications of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change;
Short proposals for both theoretical and empirical papers on these and other related topics may be submitted for consideration. Proposals from scholars who are early in their careers, with and without NBER affiliations, and from researchers from under-represented groups are especially welcome. Please do not submit papers that are already committed to publication, as the papers presented at the conference will be published in a volume, edited by the organizers, that will be distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee consisting of the project organizers, Eli Fenichel (Yale University) and Mary Bohman (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).
To be considered for inclusion on the program, abstracts of no more than two pages must be uploaded by January 18, 2022, to the following site:
All proposals must be accompanied by a comprehensive conflict of interest statement that describes any financial or other interests of the researchers that might bear on the proposed work, in particular any financial ties to any firms that may be affected by the valuation of environmental public goods. Decisions about which papers will be included on the program will be announced in March, 2022.
The NBER will cover the cost of conference participation, hotel charges and economy class travel, for one author per selected paper. All co-authors are welcome to attend the conference, and space permitting, other participants are also welcome. Please direct questions about this project to email@example.com.