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University of Exeter Business School

Environmental Economics

Module titleEnvironmental Economics
Module codeBEE2034
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Brett Day (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will introduce students to the fundamental insights and methods of environmental and resource economics. The module will explore a wide range of environmental problems including pollution, waste, climate change, over-fishing and the depletion of natural resource stocks. In each case, students will learn about the economic drivers of the environmentally damaging behaviour. Moreover, students will be shown how those insights can be used to suggest solutions to environmental problems based on the adoption of policies or treaties crafted with the careful application of economic reasoning.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • Provide students with the microeconomic tools needed to analyse fundamental contemporary questions concerning environmental economics.
  • Help students to understand contemporary issues in environmental economics and public policy concerning industrial pollution, climate change and resource extraction.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. recognise the ways in which individual decisions, market forces and government policies can affect the natural environment;
  • 2. engage with the core debates in social choice theory and assess their relevance to the design of environmental policy;
  • 3. design and evaluate public policies for the regulation of environmental pollution and natural resource depletion;
  • 4. use game theory to analyse international pollution problems and assess the merits of treaties designed to address them;
  • 5. apply the techniques of social cost-benefit analysis, including those of non-market valuation, to the appraisal of projects and policies.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. interpret relevant data and empirical findings;
  • 7. assess appropriate policies for various economic and social problems.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. demonstrate awareness of the role of numerical evidence in economics;
  • 9. conduct a critical assessment of policy debates, theoretical models and empirical evidence;
  • 10. demonstrate written communication skill.

Syllabus plan

Indicative content includes:

  • Social Choice Theory
  • Markets, Property Rights and Market Failure
  • Regulation of Environmental Pollution
  • Global Environmental Issues and Climate Change
  • Measuring Environmental Costs and Benefits
  • Economic Growth and Environmental Quality
  • Optimal Resource Extraction

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity5Tutorials
Guided Independent Study123Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Briefing Note on Issue in Environmental Economics1 page briefing note1-3, 7-10Peer marked

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Policy Briefing Note301500 word essay1-3, 6-10Individual feedback
Final exam702 hours1-10Report on key themes in the quality of exam answers on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Policy briefing note, 1500 words (30%)1500 word policy briefing note (30%)1-10August/September Reassessment Period
Final exam (2 hours) 70%2 hour exam (70%)1-10August/September Reassessment Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Perman, R. et al. (2011), Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, Addison Wesley; 4 edition.

Kolstad, C.D. (2011): Environmental Economics. 2nd edition. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A full reading list will be available on the module’s ELE page. Examples of relevant papers include:

Morey, E. R. (2018)"What are the ethics of welfare economics? And, are welfare economists utilitarians?". International Review of Economics 65.2: 201-230.

Bateman, I.J., Harwood, A.R., Mace, G.M., Watson, R.T., Abson, D.J., Andrews, B., Binner, A., Crowe, A., Day, B.H., Dugdale, S. and Fezzi, C., (2013). Bringing ecosystem services into economic decision-making: land use in the United Kingdom. Science, 341(6141), pp.45-50.

Sandler, T., (2017). Environmental cooperation: contrasting international environmental agreements. Oxford Economic Papers, 69(2), pp.345-364.

Miller, S.J. and Deacon, R.T., (2017). Protecting marine ecosystems: Regulation versus market incentives. Marine Resource Economics, 32(1), pp.83-107.

Sioshansi, F. and Webb, J., (2019). Transitioning from conventional to electric vehicles: The effect of cost and environmental drivers on peak oil demand. Economic Analysis and Policy, 61, pp.7-15.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Environmental Economics, Natural Resource Economics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BEE1036 and BEE1037 or BEE1029

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date