APME76-Resource and Environmental Economics

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: A basic training in microeconomics
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Elizabeth Robinson

Email: e.j.robinson@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module, based on microeconomic foundations, provides students with the skill set needed to analyse environmental and resource problems, and to understand how to apply these techniques to environmental policy making. The module combines economic theory with applied material and computer-based exercises. In this module we will explore the relationship between ecological and economic systems; important market failures (such as environmental public goods and environmental externalities) and policies aimed at solving them; and the optimal management of renewable and non-renewable resources. We will consider, for example, the efficient level of pollution and under what conditions tradable permits, taxes, or subsidies might be most effective at controlling pollution; the optimal management of forest plantations and fisheries; and how to deal with international environmental problems. Because environmental policy making variously requires a good understanding of the environmental impact of economic activities, or the economic valuation of both market and non-market goods and services provided by nature, the module ensures that students can apply techniques used by environmental economists such as environmental valuation. For this, there are practical sessions in the computer lab which enable students to apply various techniques.


To provide students with the basic tools necessary to understand and demonstrate how and why economic activity and policy affect the natural environment.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be able to: 

  1. Analyse environmental problems from an economics perspective

  2. Apply at least one environmental valuation method

  3. Put into practice environmental modelling skills

  4. Use simple dynamic optimisation methods in the context of natural resource exploitation


Additional outcomes:

Students will learn through a set of tutorials some of the main applied techniques in resource and environmental economics using statistical software and developing basic programming knowledge (e.g. Gretl, Excel Solver and R).

Outline content:

The module will first contextualise the study of environmental and resource economics, exploring concepts of sustainability, the interdependence of the economy and the environment, and ethical and equity considerations. The module will then focus on environmental pollution, exploring policy instruments designed to ensure an efficient level of pollution. We will spend some time addressing cross-border environmental problems, such as acid rain and global warming; why these environmental problems are so tricky to deal with; and what policies instruments are available to address these issues. The problem of accounting for the value of environmental goods and services will be discussed in depth. We will cover the theory of optimal resource extraction for both non-renewable and renewable resources.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching will be delivered through a series of 2-hour lectures, which will include also opportunities for students to work in groups and discuss specific issues. A series of computer-based practical sessions will help students familiarise themselves with environmental valuation techniques and simple dynamic optimisation. Material from different textbooks and various articles will be used during this module.

Though a variety of textbooks and articles are used during this module, the key texts used in this module are:

  1. Perman, R., Ma, Y., Common, M., Maddison, D. and McGilvray, J., 2011. Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, 4th edn (Harlow, UK.

  2. Sterner, T. and Coria, J., 2013. Policy instruments for environmental and natural resource management. Routledge.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14 10
Practicals classes and workshops 6 6
Guided independent study: 80 84
Total hours by term 100 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Practical skills assessment 50
Class test administered by School 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Autumn Term: In-class test (25%) Practical assignment (25%)

Spring Term: In-class test (25%) Practical assignment (25%)

Formative assessment methods:
Sample test questions will be put in Blackboard.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

By new assignment.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 4 September 2019


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