School of Earth and Environment

Dan O'Neill Dr Dan O'Neill

Associate Professor in Ecological Economics

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 31631
Email address:
Room: 11.113
Twitter: @DrDanONeill

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


I am an Associate Professor in the Sustainability Research Institute, and the leader of the Economics and Policy for Sustainability Research Group. My research focuses on the changes that would be needed to achieve a sustainable economy within planetary boundaries, and the relationships between resource use and human well-being.

One of the ideas that I have explored in depth is the concept of a "steady-state economy". Simply put, this is an economy where resource use and waste emissions are stabilised, and kept within ecological limits. Stabilising resource use may have important consequences for national economies, and I investigate how to manage these in my research. Some of the policy changes that may be required are explored in my book Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources (co-authored with Rob Dietz), which has also been made into a short documentary film by UK film-maker Tom Bliss.

Most recently, my colleagues and I have assessed the environmental and social performance of over 150 countries with respect to the requirements for a good life, and the constraints imposed by planetary boundaries. Our research is published in Nature Sustainability, and the results for all countries are available on our interactive website.

In the video below, Giorgos Kallis interviews me about our findings:


Research Interests

  • Macroeconomics of sustainability
  • Environmental, social, and economic indicators
  • Relationships between resource use and human well-being
  • Green growth, steady-state economics, and degrowth
  • Monetary and employment policy

Teaching Interests

I am the Programme Manager for our MSc Ecological Economics degree. The modules that I regularly teach on include:

  • SOEE 2610: Economics and Sustainability
  • SOEE 5094: Introduction to Ecological Economics
  • SOEE 5095: Environmental Economics and Policy


I am Principal Investigator on three current research projects:

  • LIVEWELL: Provisioning Systems for Sustainable Resource Use and Human Well-Being. Funded by the European Commission.
  • Full Employment and Sustainability. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
  • A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: Interactive Web Platform. Funded by the Leeds Social Sciences Institute in association with the ESRC.



Journal Articles

  • O'Neill, D.W., Fanning, A.L., Lamb, W.F., and Steinberger, J.K. (2018). A good life for all within planetary boundaries. Nature Sustainability 1, 88-95. doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0021-4 New!
  • Marshall, A.P., and O'Neill, D.W. (2018). The Bristol Pound: A tool for localisation? Ecological Economics 146, 273-281. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.11.002 New!
  • O'Neill, D.W., Fanning, A.L. (2017). New beans to count. Alternatives Journal 43 (1), 42-44.
  • Hardt, L., and O'Neill, D.W. (2017). Ecological macroeconomic models: Assessing current developments. Ecological Economics 134, 198-211. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.12.027 Open Access!
  • Cosme, I., Santos, R., and O'Neill, D.W. (2017). Assessing the degrowth discourse: A review and analysis of academic degrowth policy proposals. Journal of Cleaner Production 149, 321-334. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.02.016
  • Fanning, A.L., and O'Neill, D.W. (2016). Tracking resource use relative to planetary boundaries in a steady-state framework: A case study of Canada and Spain. Ecological Indicators 69, 836-849. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.04.034
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2015). The proximity of nations to a socially sustainable steady-state economy. Journal of Cleaner Production 108, 1213-1231. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.07.116 Open Access!
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2015). What should be held steady in a steady-state economy? Interpreting Daly's definition at the national level. Journal of Industrial Ecology 19 (4), 552-563. doi: 10.1111/jiec.12224
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2012). Measuring progress in the degrowth transition to a steady state economy. Ecological Economics 84, 221-231. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.05.020
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2010). Economic growth: enough is enough. Nature 468 (7326), 897. doi: 10.1038/468897b
  • O'Neill, D.W., and Abson, D.J. (2009). To settle of protect? A global analysis of net primary production in parks and urban areas. Ecological Economics 69, 319-327. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.08.028
  • O'Neill, D.W., Tyedmers, P.H., and Beazley, K.F. (2007). Human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) in Nova Scotia, Canada. Regional Environmental Change 7, 1-14. doi: 10.1007/s10113-006-0021-1

Book Chapters

  • Kerschner, C., and O'Neill, D.W. (2015). Economic Growth and Sustainability, in Kopnina, H., and Shoreman-Ouimet, E. (Eds.) Sustainability: Key Issues, Routledge, London, pp. 243-276.
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2014). Gross Domestic Product, in G. D'Alisa, et al. (Eds.) Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era, Routledge, London, pp. 103-106.

Reports, Policy Briefs, and Conference Papers

  • O'Neill, D.W. (2017). A Sustainable Economy. Policy Brief for the Progressive Economics Group. New!
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2013). How close are countries to a socially sustainable steady-state economy? Results from the Degrowth Accounts. 10th Biennal Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, Lille, France, June 18-21.
  • O'Neill, D.W., Dietz, R., and Jones, N. (Eds.), 2010. Enough Is Enough: Ideas for a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources. The Report of the Steady State Economy Conference. CASSE and Economic Justice for All, Leeds, UK.
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2010). Measuring progress: indicators for degrowth. Second Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity. Barcelona, Spain, March 26-29.
  • Bowen, A., Forster, P.M., Gouldson, A., Hubacek, K., Martin, R., O'Neill, D.W., Rap, A., and Rydge, J. (2009). The Implications of the Economic Slowdown for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Targets. Working Paper 11, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP), University of Leeds, UK.
  • O'Neill, D.W. (2008). Steady state economies and recession: the same or different? Preliminary results of an empirical analysis. Pages 116-122 in Proceedings of the Green Economics Conference 2008. Green Economics Institute, Oxford, UK.

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