Published on 23 March 2023
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US President’s 2023 Economic Report cites Bennett Institute research

2023 Economic Report of the President cites book by Diane Coyle and co-written paper with Matthew Agarwala

The Executive Office of the President in the Biden-Harris Administration has released the 2023 Economic Report of the President, citing the work of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. The Report demonstrates the economic progress made over the past year, and makes the case for the Administration’s economic policy priorities.

Focusing on climate change, Chapter 9 of the President’s Report references Diane Coyle’s book, “GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History” to demonstrate the shortcomings of GDP when it comes to assessing the effects of climate change on economic prosperity and human well-being: “Because climate change affects many aspects of well-being, including those not traded in traditional markets, the costs of climate change and losses of other natural capital are mismeasured by GDP (Coyle 2015; Brunetti et al. 2021; Svartzman et al. 2021; NGFS-INSPIRE 2022).”

The Report also proposes a solution, referencing additional Bennett Institute research, including a 2021 paper by Dr Matthew Agarwala and Prof Diane Coyle, on “Natural Capital in Climate Models”. “A more complete accounting system than GDP that tracks national wealth—the stock of multiple forms of capital that produce flows of both market and nonmarket benefits—could provide clearer  macroeconomic information on climate change than exclusive reliance on GDP (Agarwala and Coyle 2021; Dasgupta 2021).”

In line with the Bennett Institute’s Wealth Economy Framework, the President’s Economic Report goes on to say: “Including natural capital in measures of wealth would help track climate change costs and nature loss in ways that complement GDP and fill in important blind spots. This is why the Biden-Harris Administration has begun the process of rigorously measuring natural capital in a way that could inform a more complete picture of economic progress and climate change costs (White House 2022c).” This follows the considerable effort of researchers, including experts from the Bennett Institute, to shape the US National Strategy, mobilise the public response, and produce the underpinning research, to ensure that nature is counted.

Says Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy: “We’re delighted to discover that our work, on the way many services from nature are omitted from GDP) is cited in this year’s Economic Report of the President….”

Says Agarwala: “It is exciting to see how the research we get to pursue at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy contributes to global economic and environmental strategy. That the US President finds our work useful for managing the world’s largest economy is inspiring, but it also means we must redouble our efforts to produce rigorous, policy-relevant research.”

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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