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Unit information: Environmental Economics in 2015/16

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Unit name Environmental Economics
Unit code EFIM30004
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Birdi
Open unit status Not open

Intermediate Microeconomics: ECON21133



School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Environmental concern has become increasingly prominent as a matter for public debate and policy. Sustainable development, pollution, climate change and the exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources are fundamentally resource allocation problems on which economics has much to say. This unit will address these real world environmental problems by building on microeconomic theory from the first and second year.

The unit aims are:

  • To discuss problems such as pollution, sustainable growth and development, destruction of biodiversity, and global warming;
  • To apply and develop tools and economic concepts introduced in the core economics modules to appreciate and analyse issues related to the environment, in both national and international contexts;
  • To introduce dynamic optimisation methods to analyse the economics of renewable and non-renewable resources.
  • To introduce valuation methods for environmental goods for which no market exists

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students should have a good understanding of modern environmental economics. Students will develop an understanding of several basic economic models and concepts:

  • The definition and measurement of Sustainable Development;
  • Appropriate environmental policy design in the face of alternative market failures;
  • The economics of global warming;
  • The relationship between trade and the environment;
  • The Hotelling model of exhaustible resource depletion;
  • Dynamic models of renewable resources;
  • Alternative methods for the valuation of environmental goods

Teaching Information

18 one hour lectures and 9 one hour tutorials in which students read journal articles and make presentations.

Assessment Information

Unseen 3 hour exam (100%) in June which assesses all learning outcomes through a series of essays. Students answer 3 essays in total.

Formative Assessment (2 essays of 1500 words or the equivalent) which are also designed to test the learning outcomes set above and to provide practice for the summative examination.

Reading and References

  • Perman, R., Y. Ma, M.Common, D. Maddison and J. McGilvray (2011). Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. 4th Edition. Addison-Wesley
  • Hanley, Nick, Jason F. Shogren and Ben White (2007). Environmental Economics in Theory and Practice 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan: UK. (course text)
  • Teitenberg, Tom (2007). Environmental Economics and Policy 5th ed. Pearson: MA.
  • Bowers, John (1997). Sustainability and Environmental Economics: An Alternative Text. Longman.