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Economic Principles of Global Sustainable Development



 Dr Marta Guerriero

Module Leader

Term 1
10 weeks
10 lecture hours
10 workshops
Not available to students outside the School for Cross-Faculty Studies

Moodle Platform »

Principal Aims

This module aims to introduce you to various economic concepts and perspectives related to global sustainable development. In particular, you will consider the relationship between economics and policy, and you will become familiar with the way in which economists address real-world dilemmas.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the module, you will acquire specific subject knowledge that will allow you to:

  • Apply fundamental economic principles and techniques to the analysis of global sustainable development problems and describe how economic activity relates to social and environmental development.
  • Understand the basic measures of economic development, criticise these methods, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of alternative frameworks to measure sustainable economic progress.
  • Understand some of the most important economic cases for sustainable development policy intervention, such as theories of externalities, game theoretical explanations of collective outcomes, and theories of decision-making under risk and uncertainty.
  • Interpret basic quantitative information about global sustainability and apply this information towards explaining and evaluating policy design.

In addition, you will acquire skills that will allow you to:

  • Use abstract models and conceptual thinking to understand real-world problems.
  • Present economic ideas, concepts and techniques in both written and oral form.
  • Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent learning and research.
  • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills.


1. An Introduction to Global Sustainable Development in Economics
How Do Economists Measure Sustainable Development?

2. The ‘Fundamental’ Determinants of Economic Development: The Debate
The Geography Hypothesis
The Institutional Hypothesis

3. Economics and the Environment
Economic Development, Poverty and Environmental Degradation

4. The Economic Case for Sustainable Development Intervention: Market Failure
Externalities. Human Capital Investment
The ‘Tragedy of the Commons’. Environmental Quality
Risk and Uncertainty. Land Productivity
Asymmetric Information. Access to Credit

5. The Economic Case for Sustainable Development Intervention: Governance Failure
The Principal-Agent Approach to Governance