University of St Andrews

The World Bank, Sustainable Development and St Andrews

Wednesday 08 March 2017

Kirk Hamilton, a leading scholar in the field of Sustainable Development, delivered a seminar to our MSc programme students this week. Dr Hamilton's work as lead economist in the Environment Division of the World Bank has had profound effects on how Sustainable Development is measured globally, and has led to a step change in the incorporation of changes in natural capital into the system of national accounting world-wide.

Dr Hamilton is Emeritus Lead Economist of the Development Research Group of the World Bank, and co-author of the World Development Report 2010. He is principal author of Where is the Wealth of Nations? (2006), co-author of The Changing Wealth of Nations (2011), as well as China 2030, and led research on wealth and sustainability, the links between poverty and environment, and the economics of climate change. 

Dr Hamilton's scholarly reputation rests mainly on his pioneering work in the development of Genuine Savings as a macro-economic indicator of Sustainable Development, and in the identification of the correct way in which to account for changes in a country’s natural capital in GDP and national wealth accounts. This work led to the adoption by the World Bank in 2006 of Genuine Savings (also known as Adjusted Net Savings) as the leading international economic indicator of Sustainable Development. It also led to the development of the Inclusive Wealth accounting and reporting framework now adapted by the United Nations Environment Programme and UNDP. Kirk’s work has also shown how changes in a country’s human capital are key to explaining differences in economic development paths, and how these changes can be measured.

In a packed (standing-room only) auditorium at our Observatory building, Dr Hamilton delivered a seminar to our MSc Sustainable Development programme students; our guest was also joined by staff and students for an informal lunch. Afterwards, Dr Hamilton visited the dedicated study room for our MSc in Sustainable Development and Environmental Economics, named in his honour.

The photograph shows (L:R) Dr Kirk Hamilton, Professor Nick Hanley, Dr Darren McCauley and Dr Eoin McLaughlin, Hamilton Room, Observatory building, University of St Andrews (credit: W.Austin)

Photo of Kirk Hamilton & GSD staff