Lake Pedder: Accounting, environmental decision-making, nature and impression management

Susan Hrasky, Michael J Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
597 Downloads (Pure)


This paper looks at the role of accounting in a major environmental infrastructural project, the flooding of Lake Pedder in Tasmania in the 1960s. This was a contentious political decision in which accounting information was important and decisive. The paper found that accounting was used selectively and creatively to legitimate decision-making supporting a cost-benefit calculus. Environmental considerations were rendered invisible, marginalised and excluded from the evaluation. Accounting was used as an impression management tool through selectivity, bias and enhancement. It provides a rare illustration of the limitations of accounting for an infrastructural environmental decision using a real life, in depth case study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-299
Number of pages14
JournalAccounting Forum
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Environmental decision-making
  • Environmental externalities
  • Impression management
  • Lake Pedder


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