Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Economics and the Marine Environment

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DESCRIPTION The last few years have seen considerable development of marine-based industries: The OECD’s Ocean Economy Database estimates the ocean economy’s value added at USD 1.5 trillion. But the ocean economy goes beyond marine-based industries like tourism and fishing. It also includes the assets, goods and services of marine ecosystems, which, in turn, are often impacted by economic activity. In parallel with the increase in the extractive potential, is an equally dramatic increase in the need to protect the world’s marine environment.

This trade-off can be seen as a classic economic problem of how to allocate scarce resources to maximise welfare. The course aims make students conversant with relevant economic theories and economic solutions for environmental governance with a focus on Marine issues. The course includes both theoretical aspects as well as practical examples of economics in the context of marine issues. Particular emphasis is paid to specific economic contexts, such as that of small islands and coastal territories.

Study-unit Aims:

This aim of this study-unit is to encourage students to develop an ability to objectively and critically analyse environment-economy inter-linkages in theory and in practice in so far as they relate to the Marine Environment. The unit furnishes students with foundations in Micro and Macro economics as well as insights on methods in economic analysis, it proceeds to cover key concepts and theories in Environmental and Resources Economics, and Development Economics.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- understand key micro and macro economic concepts and theories;
- describe the nature and role of industries like tourism, fishing, shipping/transport;
- explain models of the environment – economy link to marine issues;
- explain principles of exhaustable and renewable resources to marine resources;
- critically describe a variety of economic interventions for ocean governance as well as the economic costs of both market and government failure;
- understand the nuances of governance in developing country and island contexts.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- analyze problems and policies relevant to major marine environmental issues;
- critically evaluate public policies and activities that affect the marine environment;
- meaningfully engage in discussions with economists;
- integrate and synthesise knowledge from a range of scholarly sources.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:


- Callan and Thomas 2010, Environmental Economics, Applications, Policy and Theory.
- Cropper ML, Oates WE. Environmental economics: A survey. Journal of Economic Literature. 1992 Jun.;30(2):pp. 675-740.
- Goulder LH, Parry IWH. Instrument choice in environmental policy. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. 2008 July 01;2(2):152-74.
- Stavins RN. Environmental economics. In: Blume LE, editor. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; 2008.
- Colgan, Charles S. "A guide to the measurement of the market data for the ocean and coastal economy in the National Ocean Economics Program." National Oceans Economics Program, Edmund S Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine (2007).
- Spalding, Mark J. "The New Blue Economy: the Future of Sustainability." Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics 2.2 (2016): 8.
- Hanley, Nick, et al. "Economic Valuation of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems: Is it currently fit for purpose?." Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics 2.1 (2015): 1.

Other sources:

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 50%
Classwork SEM2 No 50%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.