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EC138: Introduction to Environmental Economics

  • Lory Barile

    Module Leader
  • Simon Blake

    Module Lecturer
15 CATS - Department of Economics
Spring Module

Principal Aims

Environmental economics studies how economic activity and policy may affect the environment in which we live. This course provides students with theoretical and methodological tools that allow them to apply principles of economics to study how natural resources are (or should be) evaluated and managed. Contemporary environmental problems, such as climate change, sustainable development and transboundary pollution are discussed in light of the concepts introduced in the first part of the course.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Subject-Specific/Professional SkillsDemonstrate an ability to research relevant topics, including using the library and internet as information sources.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief and presentation.

Subject knowledge and understanding: demonstrate knowledge of the main tools used to value environmental goods and services The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief, presentation and final exam.

Subject knowledge and understanding: Use economic arguments to discuss environmental policy proposalsThe teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief, presentation and final exam

Subject-Specific/Professional SkillsCommunicate their knowledge and understanding to others, verbally and in writing.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief, presentation and final exam.

Subject-Specific/Professional SkillsReview the literature within environmental economics and be able to apply it accordingly.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief and presentation.

Subject-Specific/Professional SkillsUnderstand the interdisciplinary nature of environmental economics. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief, presentation and final exam.

Cognitive SkillsDemonstrate an understanding of the importance of critical thinking and problem solving when approaching environmental problems. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent study. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief, presentation and final exam.

Cognitive SkillsThink creatively to develop policy solutions for the environment.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief and presentation.

Subject knowledge and understanding: Apply fundamental concepts such as market failure, household behaviour, transaction costs and willingness to pay to the study of environmental economics; The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief, presentation and final exam

Subject knowledge and understanding: Understand key concepts used by environmental economists and political scientists and how they can be applied to policy; The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, reading and independent studyThe summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: policy brief and presentation.

Syllabus

The core topics in the syllabus will typically include:1. Introduction to the key concepts from environmental economics: markets; market failures; government regulation; Cost Benefit Analysis; the environment as a social asset2. Strategic interactions: Coase Theorem; Tragedy of the Commons; Transactions costs and institutions3. Valuing the environment: Welfare economics; efficiency and optimality in allocation; approaches to environmental evaluation; environmental ethics; sustainable development4. Environmental policy instruments and implementation: common and control policies in different areas e.g. water; policy design and implementation; biodiversity; trade5. Applications: deforestation; tropical deforestation and poverty; preservation and conservation; climate change; carbon trading; international co-operation; Kyoto Protocol

Context

Optional Module
L100 - Year 1, L116 - Year 1, LM1D (LLD2) - Year 1, V7ML - Year 1, LA99 - Year 1, R9L1 - Year 1, R3L4 - Year 1, R4L1 - Year 1, R2L4 - Year 1, R1L4 - Year 1, L1L8 - Year 1
Part-year Availability for Visiting Students
Available in the Spring term only (1 x assignment, presentation + proposal 15 CATS)

Assessment

Assessment Method
Coursework (50%) + Final exam (50%)
Coursework Details
Policy brief (40%), Group Presentation (10%), Final exam (50%)
Exam Timing
N/A

Exam Rubric

N/A

Previous exam papers can be found in the University’s past papers archive. Please note that previous exam papers may not have operated under the same exam rubric or assessment weightings as those for the current academic year. The content of past papers may also be different.

Reading Lists