Horst Zimmermann

Horst Zimmermann studied at the universities of Cologne, Munich and Northwestern University, USA. He is Professor of Economics, concentrating on public finance, at Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany. His main fields of research are fiscal federalism, including local public finance, and environmental economics. He serves on the German Advisory Council on Global Change of the Federal Government, on the Scientific Council of the German Federal Ministry of Finance and on the Advisory Council for Environmental Accounting of the Ministry for the Environment.

Papers Published in World Economics:

A Multi-coloured GDP -or No New GDP at All?

This is a reply to Giles Atkinson’s article ‘Re-thinking Economic Progress’ that appeared in the first issue of World Economics (Vol. 1, No. 1, January – March 2000). Atkinson discussed proposals for the construction of ‘green’ alternatives to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the same issue, Amanda Rowlatt in her article ‘Extending the UK National Accounts’, discussed the role of ‘satellite accounts’, including measures of effects on the environment. Professor Zimmermann’s contention is that the concept of a ‘green GDP’ would lead to a one-sided measure which cannot be used for the many purposes for which normal GDP as a comprehensive measure can be used. A GDP corrected for depletion of environmental stocks would have to be supplemented by one corrected for changes in human capital, another one dealing with health capital, etc. Completing the set leads to the older concept of Net Economic Welfare or something similar. Only this would again be a comprehensive measure and could replace GDP.

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