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COURSE NAME: "Environmental Economics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Giacomo Pallante
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 6:00-7:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: EC 201, EC 202
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

This course addresses the main economic problems concerning the environment, to equip students to analyze policies concerning water and air pollution, energy, climate change, and human health. This course combines theoretical analysis with discussions of such specific topics as sustainable development and international cooperation, renewable energy, and state-of-the-art production technology.

Environmental economics is now arising as a well-established and multidimensional branch of economic studies. Production and consumption of socio-economic systems require natural resources as inputs and generate (other than goods and services) pollution/waste as output. Policy makers should consider the negative externalities associated to such flows while often fail to understand the fundamental drivers behind renewable resource extinction and are over-optimistic when it comes to the environmental consequences of unsustainable economic growth. This course aims to provide an introduction from the perspective of economics of public policy issues regarding the management of natural resources and the protection of environmental quality and covers both conceptual and methodological topics and recent applications. 

The topics covered will include: environmental externalities and market failures, economics of pollution control (the efficient level of environmental pollution, taxes, tradeable permits, command-and-control), the economics of natural resource use (non-renewable resources as well as renewable resources ), valuation of environmental non-market goods, economics of renewable energy and waste management, the economics of climate change and the principles of sustainable development.      

At the end of this course students will have an understanding of the main dynamics of environmental economics. They will have the awareness of how principles of sustainable development and optimal management of natural resources should be included in the analysis of all the micro and macroecomic topics studies so far and in the next graduate studies of economics. A rigourous knowledge of the theory of policy instruments to correct the environmentally-related market failures will be integrated with the study of existing international policy and market based solutions.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics, 10th editionThomas H. Tietenberg, Lynne LewisRoutledge, 2015978-1-292-06079-8  

Exam 110 multiple choice questions (with penalty for wrong answers) plus 1 long answer. The exam will cover all the material taught up until the one week before the exam day. The nature of both the multiple choice and long answer questions can be analytical.30%
Exam 2Presentation made in class discussing a real world case and a scientific paper (selected from a list supplied by the Professor) by applying the theory of economic analysis and knowledge learned in class until the exam day.20%
Final exam10 multiple choice questions (with penalty for wrong answers) plus 3 long answer questions. The exam will cover all the material taught throughout the whole course. The nature of both the multiple choice and long answer questions can be analytical.50%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course. A:50-47 / A-:46-44
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments. B+:43-41 / B:40-38 / B-:37-35
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings. C+:34-32 / C:31-29 / C-:28-26
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail. D+:25-23 / D:22-20 / D-:19-17
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant. F:<17



The participation is strongly encouraged.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week 1

August, 29: Introduction to the course

August, 31: Property rights, externalities and environmental problems – part I



chapter 2

Week 2

September, 5: Property rights, externalities and environmental problems – part II

September, 7: Cost-benefit analysis – evaluating trade-offs for decision making


chapter 2

chapter 3

Week 3

September, 12: Valuing the environment – part I

September, 14: Valuing the environment – part II


chapter 4

chapter 4

Week 4

September, 19: Dynamic efficiency and sustainable development – Part I

September, 21: Dynamic efficiency and sustainable development – Part II


chapter 5

chapter 5

Week 5

September, 26: The economics of natural depletable resources – Part II

September, 28: The economics of natural depletable resources – Part II


chapter 6

chapter 6

Week 6

October, 3: The energy economics and the transition to renewable resources

October, 5: The economics of recyclable resources


chapter 7

chapter 8

Week 7

October, 10: Exam 1

October, 12: Optimal water management – part I



chapter 9

Week 8

October, 17: Optimal water management – part II

October, 19: Common pool resources – part I


chapter 9

chapter 12

Week 9

October, 24: Common pool resources – part II

October, 26: Economics of pollution control – part I

October, 27 (Make-up for November 23): Economics of pollution control – part I


chapter 12

chapter 14

chapter 14

Week 10

October, 31: Climate change – part I

November 2: Climate change – part II


chapter 16

chapter 16

Week 11

November, 7: Local source air pollution

November, 9: Mobile source air pollution


chapter 15

chapter 17

Week 12

November, 14: Exam 2 (in class presentation)

November, 16: Exam 2 (in class presentation)


Week 13

November, 21: The quest for sustainable development 



chapter 20

Week 14

November, 28: (not for the exam) Other topics in environmental economics

November, 30: Course review


Week 15

December, 6: Final Exam