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Whitaker Ideas Forum: Natural capital accounting for Ireland through boom and bust: Genuine Savings 1990-2016

February 27, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker(s): Luke McGrath

Affiliation: SEMRU

Organised by: Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway

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The World Bank computes estimates of Genuine Savings (GS), a leading indicator of sustainable development, for most countries in the world. A well-established literature has called for methodological enhancement. This paper presents augmented estimates of Irish GS throughout a period of unprecedented economic expansion and decline. Our methods are applicable to many other countries. A time-series constructed predominantly from national sources includes the most comprehensive coverage of pollutants in the literature surveyed. We apply a novel method to aid the property rights designation assessment required for transboundary pollutant accounting. In sharp contrast to the World Bank’s estimates, our findings suggest that a modern developed economy can exhibit signs of unsustainability. Furthermore, extended environmental damages drive these results suggesting expanded country specific GS may diverge sharply from the World Bank’s estimates. Surprisingly, we find rapid economic development and rapid declines in environmental damages can occur concurrently on the transition away from an unsustainable path.

This is one of a series of seminars in the Whitaker Ideas Forum. Luke will be representing the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit cluster.









The Whitaker Ideas Forum is a weekly seminar, running Wednesday’s throughout the semester from 1:00pm-2:00pm in CA110. It provides the opportunity for members of the Institute to showcase their research. The result are presentations that highlight the diversity of the research being undertaken, while allowing for an opportunity to engage in discussions and, sometimes, collaboration with attendees. Below, you will find a list of this semester’s seminars, please click the title for more information on that seminar.

Date Presenter Seminar Topic Whitaker

Research Cluster

23 January Eoin Daly Popular Sovereignty after Brexit Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security
30 January Tom Gillespie Rising waters and falling prices: The effects of flood risk on the Irish housing market SEMRU
6 February Sinead Mellett Farmers perception of climate change in Ireland Innovation and Structural Change
13 February Eimear Heaslip Learning from Living Labs: Experiences from the field Environment, Development and Sustainability
20 February Lorraine D’Arcy Spatial Planning, Urban Design, Transport and Human Health – Much more than footpaths and cycleways Social Sciences Research Centre
27 February Luke McGrath Natural capital accounting for Ireland through boom and bust: Genuine Savings 1990-2016 SEMRU
6 March Dmitry Brychkov Systems Social Marketing Approach to Upscale Galway Cycling System SIPPS
13 March Mairead O’Connor Can temporality theory improve our understanding of project management problems? : A software development perspective Agile and Open Innovation (LERO)
20 March Aristides Vara Horna Domestic Violence and Businesses: Consequences and Responses in Global South Gender and Public Policy
27 March Valerie Ledwith Discounting the Displaced: Examining Hungary’s Denial of Human Security for Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees


Population and Migration