Should the United States pursue a phased or comprehensive approach to augmented national accounts?


    Should the IEESA be developed in the core or satellite accounts?


    What is the relationship of the IEESA to the United Nations System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA)?


    What are appropriate techniques for measuring quantities and values for nonmarket activities in the national accounts?


    What should be the next steps in extending the IEESA?

1. What Is the Role of Natural-Resource and Environmental Accounting?

BEA has developed integrated environmental and economic accounting in response to Presidential directives, as well as the growing interest in and importance of the subject (see Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1994a). Work on environmental accounting has been conducted over the last quarter-century under several administrations. Environmental accounting was introduced during the Ford Administration, when Secretary of Commerce Elliott Richardson called for environmental accounting to track capital investment expenditures on pollution abatement. This initiative was further developed by the Carter Administration. In 1990, the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bush recommended that BEA expand its work on environment-economy interactions. And in 1993, BEA was given a mandate by the Clinton Administration to develop first-phase resource accounts within the framework of the national accounts and to pursue construction of the IEESA.

Natural-resource and environmental accounting has been studied extensively by the United Nations and the European Union and is currently an area of intensive research in all major countries.1 Many countries have developed additional accounts for minerals, forests, and pollution-control expenditures. The broad-based research that has been conducted on environmental accounting is an indication of the high priority assigned to the development of integrated environmental and economic accounting in the United States and other countries.

As discussed further below, better natural-resource and environmental accounts would provide valuable insights into the interaction between the environment and the economy. They would also provide information


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Council of Environment Ministers, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the heads of government of the Group of Seven, the ''London Group" of National Income Accountants, and numerous other international bodies have recommended that nations develop integrated environmental and economic accounts.

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