Course Details

Course Information Package

Course Unit CodeABSE305
Course Unit Details
Number of ECTS credits allocated5
Learning Outcomes of the course unitBy the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  1. Identify four essential questions that need to be answered when analysing environmental problems (application of this framework to the problem of global warming)
  2. Identify the issues of ethics and economics: review of concepts of utilitarism and social welfare functions
  3. Distinguish the concepts of resource degradation and externalities; efficiency and safety standard and sustainability.
  4. Analysis of consumption and welfare, analysis of environmental regulation, monitoring and enforcement
  5. Appraise how incentive-based regulations work
  6. Identify what are clean technologies
  7. Recognise the interaction between energy policy and the environment
  8. Determine why and how poverty, population and the environment are all interlinked
  9. Identify environmental policy in the context of poor countries
  10. Evaluate the economics of Global Agreements
Mode of DeliveryFace-to-face
Recommended optional program componentsNONE
Course Contents

Four economic questions about global warming: How much pollution is too much? Is the Government up to the job? How can we do better? Can we resolve global issues?

Ethics and Economics: Utilitarism and social welfare functions as externalities

Pollution and resource degradation: the open access problem, the public goods problem. Case study: over fishing and aquaculture

The efficiency standard: efficiency pollution levels, the Coase theorem, the ethical basis for efficiency standard

The safety standard: the right to safety? Inefficient, not cost effective and regressive?

Sustainability: a neoclassical view and ecological view (net national welfare, natural capital depreciation, future benefits, costs and discounting, Malthus and ecological economics, measuring sustainability and the ecological versus neoclassical debate)

Measuring the benefits and costs of environmental protection (types of non market benefits, consumer surplus, risk assessment and perception, engineering costs, productivity and employment impacts of regulation and monopoly costs)

Is more really better? Consumption and welfare (money and happiness, social norms and rate race, positional goods and consumption externalities, welfare and social consumption)

Environmental regulation: the process of regulation, regulation under imperfect information, bureaucratic discretion and political influence

Monitoring and enforcement: the economics of crime and punishment, compliance record and cost effective enforcement

Incentive-based regulation: cost effectiveness and technological progress. Case study of the Carbon Dioxide Trading system in Europe

Promoting clean technologies: small scale and large scale technologies: case studies

Energy policy and the environment: electricity, heat and transport

Poverty, population and the environment: family size, population growth and the global environment. How to envisage a sustainable future?

Environmental policy in poor countries: damaging subsidies, property rights, resource conservation and debt relief

The economics of global agreements: monitoring and enforcement, biodiversity and global warming

Recommended and/or required reading:
  • Goodstein, E (latest ed) Economics and the Environment, 5th edition, Wiley
  • Field, B & Field, M (latest ed) Environmental Economics, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill
  • Tietenberg, T & Lewis, L (latest ed) Environmental Economics & Policy, 6th edition, Prentice Hall
  • Tietenberg, T & Lewis, L (latest ed) Environmental and Natural Resource, 8th edition, Prentice Hall
Planned learning activities and teaching methodsLectures, discussions and presentations by students
Assessment methods and criteria
Final Exam60%
Language of instructionEnglish
Work placement(s)NO

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