This course links economic analysis to natural resources, technology, and the environment. The focus is on the structure of domestic and international natural resource markets, how pricing is derived, and how utilization of natural resources is related to patterns of environmental dynamics. Prerequisites: Econ 101, Econ 102 or equivalent by permission of the instructor and Department Chair.
Environmental Economics integrates our expanding knowledge of the environment with the role of exhaustible and renewable natural resources in the economy. As such, it draws on various models by natural and social scientists to provide an integrated framework for understanding the relationships between natural resource dynamics and the environment. Descriptive, geometric, and elementary quantitative methods will be used throughout the course. Class sessions, which are based on a student's prior reading of assigned materials, require a significant degree of student participation.
A student who has completed this course is expected to demonstrate a mastery of essential concepts and analytical skills in several key areas. The most important of these areas are:
An overview of natural resource industries; minerals, forestry, marine, land, and energy that includes an economic measure of their absolute and relative size in key economies around the world;
An examination of basic economic tools of natural resource economics: opportunity cost, externalities, property rights, taxes and subsidies, technical and economic efficiency;
An overview oa alternative view of the role of the public sector, with emphasis on the economic functions of the public sector in general and those that pertain to natural resource economics and global warming in particular;
An examination of the science of global climate change, including various sources of current and evolving projections such as those of the IPCC, the Stern Report, and others;
An examination of alternative strategies that address the key ares of natural resource economics and global warming within a national and international framework;
An analysis of reent national and international initiatives within the framework of economic policy alternatives, including the Rio Accords of 1992, the Kyoto Accords of 1992, and others.
The student’s knowledge in each of the above areas will be tested in three examinations, in periodic problem sets and in a research paper. A student who has successfully mastered both theory and methodological applications in these areas will be well prepared to pursue both direct career experience, as well as continuing study in Economics and/or related fields.