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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Economics : Economics

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Environmental Economics (ECNM10095)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Economics CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce the students to the field of environmental economics. We will first discuss and analyse how markets, without policy intervention, fail to capture environmental externalities. We will then discuss and analyse in details the possible regulatory measures and policy instruments available to correct such market failures yielding what might be the socially optimal level of pollution. Then we will introduce various environmental valuation techniques that help identifying the costs and benefits of controlling environmental externalities. Finally, we will discuss various topics that may serve as extensions to the analysis frameworks presented thus far. This way the course will mix economic theory and practical applications. As an example of environmental externalities, the course will focus, to a large extent, on the issue of climate change, i.e. greenhouse gases pollution.
Course description Broad Aims
To provide students with an in-depth understanding of:
- The concepts of market failure, externalities, public goods and property rights applied on environmental issues
- Regulatory measures and policy instruments available to control environmental degradation resulting from economic activities
- Cost-benefit analysis applied on environmental policies and projects
- Environmental valuation techniques
The topics covered are:
1. Welfare economics and the environment
2. Public goods and externalities
3. Property rights and Coase theorem
4. Environmental regulations
5. Policy instruments (Pigovian taxes, subsidies and permit trading) in details
6. Cost-benefit analysis
7. Environmental valuation: Reveal preferences techniques
8. Environmental valuation: Stated preferences techniques
9. Other topics may include: sustainable growth, and possible extensions such as: adverse selection, moral hazard, risk, uncertainty and enforcement
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Economics 2 (ECNM08006)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A knowledge and understanding of key economic issues in the analysis of controlling environmental degradation and externalities, including theoretical models and empirical evidence, along with associated mathematical and statistical techniques. More specifically the students will be able to analyse and assess the implications of using various environmental policy instruments and assess the costs and benefits of undertaking pollution control projects, a skill that is applicable to other social projects.
  2. Research and investigative skills such as problem framing and solving and the ability to assemble and evaluate complex evidence and arguments.
  3. Communication skills in order to critique, create and communicate understanding and to collaborate with and relate to others.
  4. Personal effectiveness through task-management, time-management, teamwork and group interaction, dealing with uncertainty and adapting to new situations, personal and intellectual autonomy through independent learning.
  5. Practical/technical skills such as, modelling skills (abstraction, logic, succinctness), qualitative and quantitative analysis and general IT literacy.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Inquiry
- B1. The ability to identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied economic problems and identify or devise approaches to investigate and solve these problems.
- B3. The ability to critically assess existing understanding of economic and social issues, the limitations of that understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and understanding of those issues.
- B4. The ability to question the principles, methods, standards and boundaries of economic knowledge
Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
- C1. The ability to be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement.
- C4. The ability to collaborate and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views.
- D1. The ability to make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, create and communicate understanding.
- D2. The ability to further their own learning through effective use of feedback.
- D3. The ability to use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others.
Personal Effectiveness
- E1. The ability to manage tasks and also skills in time-management.
- E4. The ability to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking.
Course organiserDr Alaa Al Khourdajie
Course secretaryMr Daniel Harrington
Tel: (0131 6)51 5936
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