Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Environmental and Resource Economics

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DESCRIPTION This unit aims to provide postgraduate students with a balanced, comprehensive and contemporary overview of both the theoretical and empirical developments relating to the area of environmental and natural resource economics. The subject content is presented in a way that gives students a solid theoretical foundation together with relevant applications spanning essential topics in both environmental and resource economics.

Topics in Environmental economics will include:
1. Welfare economics and the environment;
2. Pollution targets and policy instruments;
3. Environmental valuation, irreversibility risk and uncertainty and CBA; and
4. Energy and Climate change.

Topics in Resource economics topics will cover:
1. Non-Renewable Resources & Optimal resource extraction;
2. Renewable resources, focusing on fisheries;
3. Concepts of sustainability; and
4. Green National Accounts.

An introductory lecture will introduce students to the historical evolution and current relevance of the subject both in economics literature and in the field.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to make students conversant with relevant economic theories and economic solutions for contemporary environmental problems. The unit will also seek to introduce students to key concepts, ideas, tools and techniques which will enable them to critically engage with the current theory and be able to develop approaches and utilize models to solve the environmental problem at hand. The study-unit also aims to provide students with the tools required to critically evaluate the implications of environmental and natural resource policy recommendations both locally and internationally.

Learning Outcomes:

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

- Recognize established techniques of inquiry to analyse the causes of and solution to environmental and natural resource problems;
- Appreciate the interaction between economic activity and key environmental and resource issues;
- Appraise the theoretical underpinnings of central concepts such as efficiency and inter-temporal efficiency, optimality, sustainability, polluter pays and precautionary principles;
- Appreciate the modelling involved in describing the dynamics of exhaustible and renewable resources; and
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role of economics in national accounting for environmental and resource degradation.

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

- Critically read texts, mathematical, graphical and statistical sources of information in the field;
- Critically evaluate the role of economic activity in contemporary problems including climate change, traffic congestion, fisheries and energy use;
- Deploy key concepts in economics to environmental problems: opportunity cost, incentives, equilibrium, disequilibrium, strategic thinking, expectations, marginal considerations, systems and dynamics;
- Design policy solutions for environmental pollution and resource problems informed by economic theory;
- Work autonomously and collaboratively on environmental issues including in multidisciplinary contexts.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Roger, Yue Ma, McGilvray J and Common M (2011), `Natural Resource and Environmental Economics` (4th Edition), Pearson Education, Edinburgh.
- Nicholas,(2006), `The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review`, Cambridge University Press, New York.

A number of academic journal articles will also be supplemented to students.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Marie Briguglio (Co-ord.)
Ian P. Cassar
Jonathan Spiteri

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 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.