ENVP40230 Environmental Economics

Academic Year 2023/2024

Contemporary societies face key environmental challenges both at a local and a global level, such as climate change, air pollution and nature conservation. In their decision-making processes, policymakers face the significant challenge of incorporating the interactions between economic development and the environment in which it takes place. The objective of this course is to familiarise students with the main theoretical concepts and methods of Environmental Economics. The course will present the theoretical foundations of the discipline as well as the techniques employed by academics and policymakers to identify, analyse, evaluate, and solve key environmental problems. Reference will be made throughout to developments in national and international environmental policy.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course, the successful student should, inter alia, be able to:

- Have an appreciation of the major themes in the academic literature on the economics of the environment.
- Understand the economic approach to analysing why environmental problems occur.
- Explain the economic instruments available to address local and global environmental challenges.
- Understand the interlinkages between the rapidly emerging carbon and climate sectors and traditional environmental economic theory and policy.
- Have an understanding of the economic policy tools available to assess the costs and benefits of action(s) or lack of action(s) to address environmental problems.
- Have an awareness of the importance of behavioural economics and behavioural science for environmental policy making.

Indicative Module Content:

- Introduction to Environmental Economics.
- Economic Analysis of Why Environmental Problems Occur.
- Justification for Intervention in a Market Economy.
- Environmental Policy Design.
- Economic Approaches to Policy and Project Evaluation.
- Behavioural Economics and Environmental Policy Design.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
- Lectures with research-informed teaching
- Participative learning in class
- Active Learning through class discussion
- Task-based, enquiry & problem-based learning through group work
- Student presentations. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Read an introductory environmental economics textbook and recall the materials from introductory microeconomics.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AERD30030 - Agri-Environmental Economics

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Students produce a policy-brief suggesting a solution to an environmental problem of their choice. The policy-brief highlights key concepts from the environmental economics literature. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Students produce a concept to provide essential information for the design of an environmental economic policy relying on environmental economic tools. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: The multiple choice questionnaire contains questions on all lectures. Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

All lectures involve a discussion component which will allow participants to answer questions, present their views and discuss the material. This enables "real-time" feedback in the class on the course material. Verbal feedback will be provided in-class pre-assessment in the form of a Seminar where Groups will present their work, answer questions and discuss the material. Individual written feedback will be given post-assessment.

Keohane, M. N. O., & Olmstead, S. M. (2016). Markets and the Environment. Island Press. Chapters 1-5 and 8-10.

Hanley, N., Shogren, J., & White, B. (2019). Introduction to environmental economics. Oxford University Press. Chapters 1-5.

For basic economics concepts, lectures and readings will be complemented by videos. For example, the videos by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok on https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-uRhZ_p-BM4XnKSe3BJa23-XKJs_k4KY (At least 1-11).

Atkinson, G., Braathen, N. A., Mourato, S., & Groom, B. (2018). Cost Benefits Analysis and the Environment: Further Developments and Policy Use. OECD.

Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American psychologist, 66(4), 290.

Carlsson, F., Gravert, C., Johansson-Stenman, O., & Kurz, V. (2019). Nudging as an environmental policy instrument. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2020.
Name Role
Professor Peter Clinch Lecturer / Co-Lecturer