Environmental Economics for ERM


Course Objective

This module gives an introduction to the economic analysis of
environmental problems, and aims to give an overview of economic
environmental policy instruments in different policy contexts from the
local through to the global level. A critical cause of environmental
problems is that not all of the costs (including environmental) caused
by economic agents are borne by those responsible for generating them.

This problem will be conceptualized in this course through the notion of
externalities. There are various instruments and institutional
arrangements for addressing such externalities. Criteria for their
selection and evaluation will be studied. Applications of environmental
policies at various administrative levels (i.e. local, national,
international), different economic sectors and different country
contexts will be discussed. This course tackles some of the most
pressing environmental problems that our planet faces today, such as the
depletion of fish stocks, climate change, environmentally-induced
poverty, and environmental effects of trade and globalization.

The overarching objective of this course is to familiarize students with
the economic analysis of environmental problems. After following this
course, students should be able to judge how well certain policy
instruments and institutional arrangements perform in terms of
effectiveness, efficiency and the distribution of welfare in society.

Course Content

After having participated in this module, students should be able to
answer the following questions:
- What is the fundamental nature of environmental problems from an
economic perspective, in relation to notions like externalities, public
goods and free riding, and what does this imply for the feasibility of
(easy) solutions?
- Under which conditions are environmental regulations necessary or
when are self-regulation / economic instruments more appropriate?
- How are poverty, development, and the environment interlinked,
and what is the role of globalization in stimulating or hampering
sustainable development?
- How to derive optimal levels of pollution and resource use from a
societal perspective?
- Which economic policy instruments are available, and what are
their (dis)advantages in view of the selection criteria and in specific
country contexts?
- What are critical and debatable assumptions of core policy
insights within environmental economics, such as related to economic
costs-benefit analysis of cli-mate policy?

In this course "Environmental Economics", one distinct subject will be
addressed per week. This implies that various activities (e.g. (guest)
lectures, interactive events) will take place on a weekly basis
addressing a distinct central topic. The subjects and lectures are as
- Policy instruments (Week 1)
- Government versus self-regulation (Week 2)
- Optimal resource use (Week 3)
- International trade and the environment (Week 4)
- Risk and uncertainty (Week 5)
- Poverty and the environment (Week 6)

Method of Assessment

Assignment (35%), closed-book exam (65%)

Entry Requirements

This course is suited for students with a broad range of disciplinary
backgrounds. A background in economics is no prerequisite.


Harris, J.M. & Roach B. (2013). Environmental and Natural Resource
Economics: A Contemporary Approach - Third Edition. Routledge: Taylor &
Francis Group, London.

Target Audience

This course is suited for students with a broad range of disciplinary
backgrounds. This course provides some of the fundamental building
blocks for the MSc Environmental and Resource Management (ERM). It
provides the basic framework for economic re-search methods, such as
cost-benefit analysis and environmental valuation, which be treated in
the ERM course Environmental Policy Tools. We encourage students who are
more interested in only theoretical/mathematical analysis to follow the
environmental economics course provided by the Faculty of Economics and
Business Administration.

Additional Information

This course will provide a sound balance between theoretical lectures
and guest lectures by academic and policy experts of a relevant field of
environmental economics. Several interactive sessions stimulate active
learning of students. To stress the societal importance of environmental
economics, guest lecturers performing in this course typically come from
outside academia, and include among others:
- Dr Anniek Mauser (Director Sustainability - Unilever);
- Dr Bertholt Leeftink (Deputy Secretary General - Ministry of Economic
- Dr Mathijs Bouman (Economic Journalist / Commentator - FD, RTL-Z)
- Prof Ruud Huirne (Director Food & Agri - Rabobank)
- Carel Drijver (Director Marine Department - WWF)
- Dr Sander de Bruyn (Chief Economist - CE Delft)
- Danielle Hirsch (Director - Both Ends)

General Information

Course Code AM_468020
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Fac. der Aard- en Levenswetenschappen
Course Coordinator dr. P.J.H. van Beukering
Examiner dr. P.J.H. van Beukering
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: