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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Environmental Valuation (PGGE11223)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe purpose of this course is to provide students with a largely comprehensive introduction to the economic valuation of environmental resources and policies. The course will cover both key elements of economic theory that are needed to understand the methodologies covered, and an introduction to the analysis of data. The methods covered are of direct relevance to policy formulation, ecosystem service valuation, and cost-benefit analysis, though students will be encouraged to pursue reading on the theme of most interest to them.

By the end of the course, students will have insight into what economic valuation methods exist, the theory on which they rely, what form the data collected for these methods takes, and how data analysis can be conducted across a range of methods. This course will prepare students to pursue several paths, including each of the following: further development of environmental valuation skills; expansion of range for environmental valuation methods and approaches; ability to critically engage with the ethical and political limits of monetary valuation methods; an understanding of methods to elicit non-monetary values to guide policy and decision-making; and the development of dissertations featuring environmental valuation.

Course description Week 1. Introduction to Course
This week will introduce students the course, and how it will be run. It will also introduce students to the concept of economic valuation, and why it is important for them to learn about it.

Week 2. Market valuation of environmental resources
This week will introduce what economic values are and focus on markets, how they function, and on the contexts where market data is useful for valuing environmental resources.

Week 3. Introduction to R
This week will provide and introduction to the R software and do some practical exercises in R.

Week 4. Travel Cost Method
This week will be dedicated to the understanding of Travel Cost Method (TCM) and TCM data analysis.

Week 5. Contingent Valuation Method
This week will be dedicated to the understanding of the contingent valuation method (CVM) and CVM data analysis.

Week 6. Choice Experiments I
This week will introduce Choice Experiments (CE) and focus on understanding how to design a CE.

Week 7. Choice Experiments II
This week will focus on the CE essay and the analysis of a CE dataset that will be the basis for the essay.

Week 8. Benefits Transfer
In this week students will learn about the pros and cons of different ways of conducting benefits transfer , conduct examples of simple transfers and be introduced to meta-analysis.

Week 9: Putting monetary values in their place
This week will 'zoom out' from a sole focus on monetary values to introduce the broader ethical orientations and values that underpin monetary values. In so doing, this week will challenge students to take a step back to re-examine the 'what' and 'why' of environmental valuation, introducing students to key values typologies and frameworks.

Week 10: Practicing non-monetary valuation
This week will familiarise students with the range of methods and associated tools to carry out non-monetary valuations by paying attention to underlying rationalities that can frame methodological choices. Focusing on the 'how' students will learn how to navigate value pluralism and justify methodological choices when designing non-monetary valuation projects.

Week 11: Interventions in decision-making; environmental valuation in policy and planning
This week will offer reflection on the use of environmental valuation tools and outcomes for policy and planning practice. Students will critically explore 'how' and 'when' both monetary and non-monetary valuation methods can guide decision-making most effectively.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs No
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 48, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 145 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The full mark for this course will be based on a series of three assessments, each of which relate to different aspect of the course. Full details will be provided in the syllabus:
- Engagement and participation throughout the course: 10%
- Choice Experiment Essay (3,000 words): 40%
- Capstone Project (5,000 words): 50%

In addition, there will be a series of formative assessments that won't count towards the course mark:
- Individual quizzes in Weeks 3, 4, 5 & 8
- Appraisal of an economic valuation paper (week 5)
- The opportunity to receive comments on an outline for the capstone project

Assessment deadlines

Assessment Value Due Date
Engagement & participation 10% Assessed throughout the semester. December 2022
Choice Experiment Essay
(3,000 words) 40% 12:00 (noon)
November 2022
Capstone Project
(5,000 words) 50% 12:00 (noon)
December 2022
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand key features of (and the primary elements of economic theory behind) the most common environmental valuation methods used in economic analyses.
  2. Have acquired foundational skills in the analysis of environmental valuation data in R.
  3. Understand how the methods covered in class have been applied to policy areas of individual interest.
  4. Have authored mini - journal articles, demonstrating data analysis and interpretation skills.
  5. Have a solid basis for understanding and judging the quality of environmental valuation methods as applied by others in various contexts.
Reading List
Students will be given specific packets of introductory reading to do before each tutorial session. Some of this reading may take the form of tutorial booklets, and some of this reading will take the form of book chapters or journal articles.

Additionally, and for reference, the following companion text books are relevant for students to consult.

- Pricing Nature by Hanley and Barbier, available as an e book through the SRUC library
Economic Valuation using Stated Preference Methods: a manual by Bateman et al.

- A good, slightly more technical introduction into non-market valuation methods:
A Primer on Nonmarket Valuation by PA Champ, KJ Boyle and TC Brown

- An accessible philosophical introduction to plural environmental ethics and values:
Environmental Values by O'Neill, Holland and Light

In addition to the assigned readings, students will be required to consult peer-reviewed journal articles for their choice experiment essay and capstone project. Students are responsible for finding these journal articles and will also be responsible for balancing the reading of these articles with the required weekly reading. It is recommended that students read about these methods throughout the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will gain a semester of working in R
for data analysis
- Critiquing the quality of peer-reviewed studies
- Conducting and writing up the analysis of primary quantitative data
- Production of original, written arguments
- Linking primary research to policy questions/decision contexts
Study Abroad No
KeywordsEcological Economics,Ecosystem Services,Environmental Valuation
Course organiserMr Sebastian O'Connor
Course secretaryMiss Lydia Hall
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