Instructor: Zabel, Jeffrey
Subject area: Economics
Course number: EC30
Year taught: 1998
Please note that the copyright for this syllabus is retained by the
Overview: In this course, we will analyze the environment from an
economic perspective. We will consider the (implicit or explicit) market for
goods and services as a mechanism for determining the efficient allocation of
scarce environmental resources. We will first focus on the analytical tools that
will allow us to apply an economic approach to the environment. The concepts of
public goods and externalities will be introduced as a means for analyzing
natural resource and environmental problems. Benefit/Cost analysis will be used
as a tool for environmental decision making. A number of current topics such as
global warming, the new amendments to the Clean Air Act, and recycling will be
discussed. Students are assumed to be familiar with the material in Economics 2
(Introductory microeconomics) or the equivalent.
Midterm Exam --30% --Thursday, March 6
Paper Topic--Due Thursday March 12
Paper --20%--Due Monday, April 27, 5:00 PM
Final Exam--35%--Thursday, May 7, 12:00 PM
Participation: Each person will be asked to comment on a specific article that
he/she has signed up for in advance. The articles will either be handed out in
class or put on reserve. General class participation will also count towards the
Term Paper: A research paper that analyzes the costs and benefits of an
environmental policy or problem. A brief description of your topic is due in
class on Thursday, March 12. The paper must be no longer than 12 double spaced
pages. Further details will be provided at a later date.
Late Paper, Homework Policy: 10% of the total points will be deduced per day for
late homework and the term paper.
TT - Tietenberg, Tom, Environmental Economics and Policy, Second Edition, Harper
Collins Publishers, 1998.
Additional Readings: RR - Readings on reserve in Tisch Library.
HO - There will also be occasional handouts in class.
Course Outline and Reading List:
-TT Chapter 1: Visions of the Future
II. Economic Methods
-TT Chapter 2: The Economics Perspective
Chapter 3: Rights, Rents, and Remedies
Chapter 4: Valuing the Environment
Chapter 12: Environmental Economics: An Overview
-RR Blinder, Alan S., Hard Heads, Soft Hearts, Chapter 5
-RR Carson, Richard T., "The Value of Diamonds and Water," unpublished
-RR Grandstaff, S. and John A. Dixon, "Evaluation of Lumpinee Park in
Bangkok, Thailand," in John A. Dixon and M. Hufschmidt eds., Economic
Valuation Techniques for the Environment, 1986.
-RR Hahn, Robert W., "Economic Prescriptions for Environmental Problems:
How the Patient Followed the Doctor's Orders,"Journal of Economic
Perspectives, Spring 1989.
-RR Hardin, Garrett, "The Tragedy of the Commons," in Managing the
Commons, Garrett Hardin, John Baden eds., 1977.
-RR Hubbard, Harold M., "The Real Cost of Energy," Scientific
American, April 1991.
-RR Lesser, Jonathan A., Daniel E. Dodds, and Richard O. Zerbe, Jr,
"Measuring the Value of Life and Health," Chapter 12 in Environmental
Economics and Policy , 1997.
-RR Lesser, Jonathan A., Daniel E. Dodds, and Richard O. Zerbe, Jr,
"Discounting Environmental Benefits And Costs Over Time," Chapter 13
in Environmental Economics and Policy, 1997.
-RR Kelman, Steven, "Cost-Benefit Analysis - An Ethical Critique,"
Regulation, Jan/Feb 1981.
-RR Morgenstern, Richard D., "Environmental Taxes: Is There a Double
Dividend?" Environment, April 1996.
-RR Portney, Paul R., "The Contingent Valuation Debate: Why Economists
Should Care," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 1994.
-RR Stavins, Robert N. And Bradley W. Whitehead, "Crafting the Next
Generation of Market-Based Environmental Tools," Environment, May 1997.
-RR Viscusi, W. Kip et al., "Environmental Regulation," pages 661-672,
678-683, Chapter 21 in Economics of Regulation and Antitrust, 1992.
-HO Permits Game
III. Air Pollution and Global Warming
-TT Chapter 13: Stationary-Source Local Air Pollution
Chapter 14: Acid Rain and Atmospheric Modification
Chapter 15: Transportation
-RR Cline, William R., "The Scientific Basis for the Greenhouse
Effect," in The Economics of Global Warming, 1992.
-RR Kennedy, David M., "Controlling Acid Rain," in Cases in
Microeconomics, Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez and Joseph P. Kalt eds., 1990.
-RR Krupnick, Alan J. and Paul R. Portney, "Controlling Urban Air
Pollution: A Benefit-Cost Assessment," in Economics of the Environment, 3rd
edition, Dorfman and Dorfman eds., 1993.
-RR Nordhaus, William D., "Economic Approaches to greenhouse Warming,"
in Global Warming: Economic Policy Responses, Dornbush and Poterba eds., 1991.
-RR Portney, Paul, "Economics and the Clear Air Act,"Journal of
Economic Perspectives, Fall 1990.
-RR Poterba, James M., "Global Warming Policy: A Public Finance
Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 1993.
-RR Schneider, Stephen H., " The Greenhouse Effect: Science and
Policy," Science, Feb. 1989.
-RR Wiener, Jonathan B., "Global Trade in Greenhouse Gas Control: Market
Merits and Critics' Concerns," Resources, Fall 1997.
-RR "How Climate Changes," The Economist, April 7, 1990.
-RR "Turning Up the Heat," Consumer Reports, September 1996.
IV. Solid Waste Management
-TT Chapter 17: Solid Waste and Recycling
Chapter 18: Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes
-RR Ackerman, Frank, "A Truck is a Terrible Thing to Waste," Chapter 4
in Why Do We Recycle?, Island Press, 1997.
-RR Boerner, Christopher and Kenneth Chilton, "The Folly of Demand-Side
Recycling," Environment, Jan/Feb 1994.
-RR Sawicki, David S., "The Tragedy of the Common: A First Case Assignment
for Students of Policy Analysis.
-RR Young, John E., "The Sudden New Strength of Recycling," World
Watch, July/August 1995.
-RR Young, John E. and Aaron Sachs, "Creating a Sustainable Materials
Economy," State of the World 1995.
-RR "Solid and Hazardous Waste Management," Chapter 3 in Project 88 --
Round II, a Public Policy Study sponsored by Senators Timothy Wirth and John
-RR "Landfills are #1, "Burn It," Garbage Magazine.
V. Perspectives on the Environment
-TT Chapter 20: The Quest for Sustainable Development
-RR Daly, Herman, "The Economic Growth Debate: What Some Economists have
Learned but Many Have Not, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
-RR Repetto, Robert et al., "Wasting Assets: Natural Resources in the
National Income Accounts," in Markandya and Richardson, eds., Environmental
Economics: A Reader, 1992.
-RR Solow, Robert M., "Sustainability: An Economist's Perspective," in
Economics of the Environment, 3rd edition, Dorfman and Dorfman eds., 1993.
-RR Weiss, Edith Brown, "In Fairness to Future Generations,"
Environment, April 1990.
-RR "Dimensions of Sustainable Development," in World Resources
Possible Articles for Class Discussion
RR Gore, Albert, "Eco-nomics: Truth or Consequences," Chapter 10 in
Earth in the Balance, 1992.
HO Christensen, Salley T., "Is a Tree Worth a Life?", Newsweek, Aug
HO Krauthhammer, C., "Saving Nature, But Only for Man", Time, June
RR EPA's Proposed Air Quality Standards, The Brookings Review, Summer 1997.
HO "A Logger's Lament," and "Facts, Not Species, Are
HO Thurow, L., "On Environmentalists," Boston Globe, Jan. 15, 1985.
and Worster, D., "On Economists,"
Boston Globe, Jan. 22, 1985.
HO Jacoby, Jeff, "Earth's 'peril' an exaggeration," Boston Globe
Dates for Class Discussion
Thursday 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/26, 4/2