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Macroeconomics and the Environment

Essays on Green Accounting The late Salah El Serafy, formerly Senior Economist, The World Bank, US
Though scientists and environmentalists have long expressed concern over the rapid deterioration of the global environment, economists have largely failed to recognize the issue’s relevance to their field. Salah El Serafy argues for an increased focus on the economic aspects of environmental degradation, calling for a fundamental shift in how economists measure and discuss national income.
Extent: 400 pp
Hardback Price: $165.00 Web: $148.50
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978 1 78100 735 8
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Environmental Economics
  • International Accounting
  • Environment
  • Ecological Economics
  • Environmental Economics
Though scientists and environmentalists have long expressed concern over the rapid deterioration of the global environment, economists have largely failed to recognize the issue’s relevance to their field. Salah El Serafy argues for an increased focus on the economic aspects of environmental degradation, calling for a fundamental shift in how economists measure and discuss national income.

Through a combination of new material reflecting recent developments in the field and previously published essays that provide a history of green accounting, the author emphasizes the importance of considering natural resources as part of a nation’s economic capital. Setting forth what has become known as the ‘El Serafy Method’, this fascinating and complex volume presents both the justification and the methodology for giving the environment a place in the global economic conversation.

Students, professors, researchers and policymakers in the field of environmental and ecological economics will no doubt find much to appreciate in this thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of the intersection between economics and the environment.
‘This is an important book. It not only serves as a valuable contribution to green accounting, it is a testament to Salah El Serafy’s tireless efforts to reform the national income accounts in ways that would better reveal the sustainable product of nations and the value of development policies. No matter what differences the reader may have with some of the points made, there is no denying that the world would be a much improved place if the reforms suggested by El Serafy were implemented.’
– Philip Lawn, Flinders University, Australia

‘This book is a fabulous summary of Salah El Serafy’s seminal contributions to “greening” national income accounts. If only we had employed the famous “El Serafy method” of investing depletion of non-renewable resources into renewable alternatives, the world would be in a much stronger and more sustainable place today. Hopefully it is not too late to take up this and El Serafy’s many other recommendations for improving national income accounting.’
– Robert Costanza, Portland State University, US
Contents: Preface Part I: Introduction 1. Breaking the Ground 2. Green Accounting: History and Prospects 3. The Environment as Capital Part II: Concepts of Income and Capital 4. Income, Capital and Wealth 5. Rent and Royalty 6. Hicks’s Income and Hicksian Income 7. Income from Extracting Petroleum and Controversies over Keeping Capital Intact 8. Adjusting for Disinvestment: In the Wake of Brundtland Part III: The User Cost and its Detractors 9. Proper Calculation of Income from Depletable Natural Resources 10. Disagreements and Misunderstandings 11. Hartwick’s Contribution Part IV: Methodological Tools 12. Depletable Resources: Fixed Capital or Inventories? 13. Sustainability and Substitutability: Defending Weak Sustainability 14. Growth Rate after Adjustment 15. Pricing the Invaluable: Services of the World’s Ecosystems Part V: Policy Matters 16. Population and National Income 17. Green Accounting and Economic Policy 18. The ‘Resource Curse’: Institutions and Dutch Disease 19. Natural Resources in World Bank Country Economic Work and Indonesia’s Experience 20. Sovereign Funds Part VI: Conclusion 21. An Afterword Glossary Index