Resource and Environmental Economics

Duke University - Nicholas School of the Environment
Durham, North Carolina

Instructor: Kramer, Randall
Subject area: Economics
Department: Environmental Studies
Course number: ENV 272
Year taught: 1996

Instructor's E-mail:

Please note that the copyright for this syllabus is retained by the instructor.

Nature of Course:
This course will examine economic perspectives on the allocation of natural resources and the management of environmental quality. The objective of the course is to develop students' skills in using economic theory to critically analyze natural resource and environmental pollution problems. In addition, empirical evidence on the economic impacts of public policies will be examined.

Readings: The main textbook for the course is Tom Tietenberg, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, 4th ed., 1996. For those who need to review microeconomics, there is an optional text, W. Nicholson, Microeconomic Theory, on sale at the Duke bookstore. A number of articles will be assigned as required readings. Most of these will be available in a course-pack at the bookstore.

Course format: The lecture periods will be used to present main themes and conceptual material. Active student discussion is encouraged. In addition there will be some optional sessions outside of the regular class period for reviewing microeconomic theory and calculus. If requested, we will also arrange review sessions prior to the mid-term and final exams.

Prerequisites: At least one course in microeconomic theory. It is assumed that students are familiar with basic concepts such as demand, supply, production functions, opportunity cost, marginal analysis and time discounting. In addition, a basic knowledge of calculus is required.

Grading: The final grade will be determined as follows:

Problem sets: 24%
Quiz: 6%
Midterm exam: 30%
Final exam: 40%

Problem sets: There will be 3 problem sets. The problem sets are due one week after being handed out. Late problem sets will be penalized. No problem set grades will be dropped. One quiz will be given during the first half of the course.

Examinations: The midterm will be given on October 17. Please note there will be no makeup midterm exams. The final exam will be comprehensive.

Sep. 3 I. Introduction

A.Scope of course and field
-- Tietenberg, chapter 1

B.Markets and efficiency
-- Tietenberg, chapter 2
-- Brenan, T.J., Discounting the Future: Economics and Ethics, Resources, Summer 95.
Sep. 10 II. Sustainability and macroeconomics
-- Solow, R.M., "Sustainability: An Economist's Perspective" in R. Dorfman and N. Dorfman (eds), Economics of the Environment, 1993, pp. 179-187.
-- Daly, H., "Towards an Environmental Macroeconomics," Land Economics, V. 67, May 1991, pp. 255-259.
-- Peskin, H.M. and E. Lutz, "A Survey of Resource and Environmental Accounting Approaches in Industrialized Countries" in E. Lutz (ed) Toward Improved Accounting for the Environment, World Bank, 1993.
Sep. 17 III.Resource Scarcity and Population Growth
-- Tietenberg, chapter 13, 5
-- Ridker, R.G., "Population Issues," Resources, Winter 1992: 11-14.
Sep. 24 IV.Property Rights, Externalities and Public Goods
-- Tietenberg, chapter 3
-- Schalgler, E., and E. Ostrom, "Property Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics 1992, V. 68 (3): 249-262.
Oct. 1 V.Benefit-Cost Analysis and Environmental Valuation
-- Tietenberg, chapter 4.
-- Smith, V.K., "Can We Measure the Economic Value of Environmental Amenities?" Southern Economic Journal, 1990, V. 56: 865-878.
-- Carson, R., N.F. Meade, and V.K. Smith, "Contingent Valuation and Passive Use Values: Introducing the Issues," Choices, 2nd Quarter, 1993: 4-8.
-- Randall, A., "Passive-Use Values and Contingent Valuation - Valid for Damage Assessment," Choices, 2nd Quarter, 1993: 12-15.
Oct. 8 VI. Allocation of Nonrenewable Resources

A. Energy
-- Tietenberg, chapters 6 and 7
-- Darmstadter, J. "Energy Transitions," Resources, Winter 1992: 29-32.
-- Anderson, D., and K. Ahmed, "Where We Stand with Renewable Energy," Finance and Development, June 1993: 40-43.

B. Minerals
-- Tietenberg, chapter 8
-- Hodges, C.A. Mineral Resources, Environmental Issues, and Land Use, Science, vol. 268, June 2, 1995.
Oct. 15 VII. Allocation of Renewable Resources

A. Land Use and Food
-- Tietenberg, chapter 10
-- Carlson, G., and D. Zilberman, "Emerging Resource Issues in World Agriculture," Chapter 11 in Agricultural and Environmental Resource Economics, G.A. Carlson, et al. (eds), 1993: 491-517.
-- Sen, Amartya, Nobody Needs Starve, Granta, Winter 95.
Oct. 22 B. Water
-- Tietenberg, chapter 9
-- Frederick, K.D., "Managing Water for Economic, Environmental, and Human Health," Resources, Winter 1992: 22-25.
Oct. 29 C. Forests
-- Tietenberg, chapter 11
-- Sandler, T., "Tropical Deforestation and Market Failures," Land Economics, 1993, V. 69 (3): 225-233.
-- Sedjo, R.A. Ecosystem Management: An Uncharted Path for Public Forests, Resources, Fall 1995.
Nov. 5 D. Fisheries
-- Tietenberg, chapter 12
-- Anderson, L. Privatizing Open Access Fisheries: Individual Transferable Quotas, in D. Bromley, (ed.), The Handbook of Environmental Economics, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1995.

E. Biodiversity
-- Randall, A, "The Value of Biodiversity," Ambio, vol. 20, April 1991: 64-68.
-- Conrad, J., and G. Salas, "Economic Strategies for Co-evolution: Timber and Butterflies" Land Economics, 1993, 69 (4): 404-415.
Nov. 12 VIII. Economics of Environmental Pollution Control

A. Alternative environmental policy instruments
-- Tietenberg, chapter 14
-- Stavins, R.N., and B.W. Whitehead, "Dealing with Pollution," Environment, vol. 34, 1992: 7-11, 29-42.
Nov. 19 B. Control of air pollution
-- Tietenberg, chapters 15, 16, 17
-- Schelling, T.C., "Some Economics of Global Warming," American Economic Review, vol. 82, 1992: 1-14.
-- Harrington, W. and M. Walls, "Shifting Gears: New Directions for Cars and Clean Air," Resources, Fall 1993: 28-31.

C. Control of water pollution
-- Tietenberg, chapter 18
-- Paulsen, C.M., "Cost Effective Control of Water Pollution in Central and Eastern Europe," Resources, Spring 1994: 2-6.
Nov. 26 D. Control of toxics
-- Tietenberg, chapter 19
-- Macauley, M.K. and K.L. Palmer, "Incentive-Based Approaches to Regulating Toxic Substances," Resources, Summer 1992: 5-9.
Dec. 3 E. Management of solid waste
-- Miranda, M.L. et al., Market-Based Incentives and Residential Municipal Solid Waste, J. of Policy Analysis, 1994: 681-98.
-- Hendrickson, C., et al., Time to Dump Recycling? Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 95.

IX. A Look to the Future
-- Tietenberg, chapters 22 and 23