Ackerman, Frank

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Ackerman, Frank


Children: two daughters. Education: Swarthmore College, B.A.; Harvard University, Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Playing jazz trumpet.


Office—Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, 44 Teele Ave., Medford, MA 02155. E-mail—[email protected]


Dollars and Sense, Somerville, MA, cofounder, editor, and business manager, 1974-82; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, visiting assistant professor of economics, 1982-83; Bremer Associates, Boston, MA, information systems consultant, 1983-84; University of Massachusetts, Boston, visiting assistant professor of economics, 1984-85; Tellus Institute, Boston, senior economist, 1985-95; Tufts University, Global Development and Environment Institute, Medford, MA, senior research associate, 1995-99, director of research and policy program, 1999—, research assistant professor in department of urban and environmental policy and planning, 1999- 2003.



Reaganomics: Rhetoric vs. Reality, South End Press (Boston, MA), 1982.

Hazardous to Our Wealth: Economic Policy in the 1980s, South End Press (Boston, MA), 1984.

(Coeditor) The Consumer Society, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1997.

Human Well-Being and Economic Goals, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1997.

Why Do We Recycle? Markets, Values, and Public Policy, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1997.

(Coeditor) The Changing Nature of Work, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1998.

(Coeditor) The Political Economy of Inequality, Island Press (Washington, DC), 2000.

(With Neva Goodwin, Julie Nelson, and Thomas Weisskopf) Microeconomics in Context, Houghton Mifflin (New York, NY), 2005, previously published in Russian (Moscow, Russia), 2002, and in Vietnamese (Hanoi, Vietnam), 2002.

(With Alejandro Nadal) The Flawed Foundations of General Equilibrium: Critical Essays on Economic Theory, Routledge (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Lisa Heinzerling) Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing, New Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Economic Issues, edited by T. Swartz and F. Bonello, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2001, and Methodologies for Environmental Assessments of Trade Liberalization Agreements, edited by Dale Andrews, OECD Press (Paris, France), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Economic Methodology, Energy Policy, Ecological Economics, Climate Policy, Resources Conservation and Recycling, Land Use and Environmental Law Review, Nation Administrative Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Cornell Law Review.


Frank Ackerman is an economist who has devoted much of his time to analyzing issues related to energy and the environment. Many of his works point out the shortcomings of the practice of cost-benefit analysis, in which all things considered are reduced to a dollar value. He has also pointed out the human problems resulting from economic policies based solely on market factors. He has worked with environmental activists on issues related to water sources and chemical production and pollution.

In collaboration with Lisa Heinzerling, he wrote the book Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing, which explains and critiques the cost-benefit approach to making environmental, economic, and health policies. Priceless relates many examples of the ways information can and is twisted to support various arguments against government regulations. Statistics can be used to demonstrate that making changes for greater safety would cost more than the price that is assigned to the lives that would be lost if practices went unchanged. Ackerman and Heinzerling recommend an approach that takes more factors into consideration rather than remaining so narrowly focused on dollar values. "Ackerman and Heinzerling argue persuasively that values—the nonmonetary kind—are really what should be at the heart of crafting policies to protect our health, safety, and the environment," explained Osha Gray Davidson in a review for OnEarth. Reviewer Nola Theiss of Kliatt stated in her assessment of Priceless: "This is an excellent book for mature readers with some understanding of environmental issues and statistics."



Environmental Law, winter, 2005, Shi-Ling Hsu, review of Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing, p. 135.

Journal of Economic Issues, December, 2001, Karl Widerquist, review of The Political Economy of Inequality, p. 1054.

Kliatt, March, 2006, Nola Theiss, review of Priceless, p. 38.

New Republic, March 15, 2004, Cass R. Sunstein, review of Priceless, p. 27.

OnEarth, spring, 2004, Osha Gray Davidson, review of Priceless, p. 38

Publishers Weekly, January 6, 1997, review of Why Do We Recycle? Markets, Values, and Public Policy, p. 60; January 5, 2004, review of Priceless, p. 56.


Center for Progressive Reform Web site, (November 3, 2006), biographical information on Frank Ackerman.

Global Development and Environment Institute, (November 3, 2006), biographical information about Frank Ackerman.

Stay Free, (November 3, 2006), Carrie McLaren, interview with Frank Ackerman.

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