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University of Exeter Business School

Ecological Economics

Module titleEcological Economics
Module codeBEP2150
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Marco Campenni (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to ecological economics in theory and practice. You will receive a thorough grounding in macroeconomics and microeconomics, alongside an in-depth knowledge of the economics and policy of environmental pollution, renewable and non-renewable resource use, as well as the connection between globalization and environmental degradation. With this basis, you will be able to identify possible solutions to environmental problems and assist in policy recommendation and decision-making.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to improve understanding of the link between ecological systems and economic activity. The module introduces core issues in ecological economics, related to micro and macro-economic theory, international trade and policy. Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary approach to economics that incorporates insights from the biological, physical and social sciences. In this module, you will apply ecological economic theory to a set of concrete environmental problems or challenges, in relation to the increasing scale of human impacts and the inequitable distribution of resources, in a way that encourages you to reflect on possible solutions and formulate policy recommendations. Seminars will complement lectures with more case studies and real-life examples.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Characterise the core concepts and issues in ecological economics
  • 2. Critically appraise the relationship between ecological systems and economic activity
  • 3. Apply ecological economics theory to environmental challenges and conflicts in real-life

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Identify, present and explain traditional economic models and apply them to analysis of economic questions and policy issues
  • 5. Place these models within an interdisciplinary framework that highlights the linkages among economic growth, environmental degradation and social inequality

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. Communicate concepts/definitions/arguments
  • 7. Identify the essential elements of a problem and organise a way to think about it systematically
  • 8. Demonstrate the ability to organise and process information through class preparation and participation using the technologies at hand
  • 9. Develop a team work plan and use appropriate team working skills to achieve a shared goal or outcome in an effective way

Syllabus plan

Topics discussed on the module include (not exclusively):

  • The keystones of ecological economics
  • Ecological economics in the Global South
  • Microeconomics: cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, market failures and natural resources
  • Macroeconomics: money creation and distribution in an ecological context  
  • Perspectives on ecosystem services valuation 
  • Economic growth in a finite world: navigating the growth, degrowth and prosperity debate
  • International trade: globalisation and environmental degradation
  • Policy: sustainable scale, just distribution and efficient allocation   
  • Ecological economics and socio environmental conflicts

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 activity11Lectures (11 x 1 hour)
Scheduled learning and teaching activity11Seminars (11 x 1 hour)
Guided independent study128Reading, research and assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation30 mins1-3,6-9Tutor feedback

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
Group report301000 words2,3,5,8,9Written
Essay702500 words1,2,4,5-7Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group report Individual assignment (1000 words) (30%)2,3,5,8,9August re-assessment period
Essay Essay (2500 words) (70%)1,2,4,5-7August re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following books are a useful resource for this course:

  • Daly, H. and Farley, J. (2011). Ecological Economics; Principles and Applications (2nd Edition). Island Press
  • Healy, H., Martinez-Alier, J., Temper, L., Walter, M. and Gerber, J.F. (Eds.) (2012). Ecological Economics from the Ground Up. Routledge
  • Martinez-Alier, J. and Muradian, R. (2015). Handbook of Ecological Economics. Edward Elgar

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


  • ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • A more comprehensive bibliography will be available to students taking this course

Key words search

Ecological Economics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Environment

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date