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Economics for Natural Resources & Environmental Management - ENV00088M

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Xun Zhou
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module deals with all the major areas of natural resources and environmental economics, providing an overview of the economic tools that are used to address environmental problems.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module deals with all the major areas of natural resources and environmental economics, and has been structured to balance theory, applications and examples. It establishes some economic foundations through the study of the role of the markets in determining the level of environmental quality, what “market failure” means, and the rationale for government intervention. It explains how environmental economics can contribute to the understanding and management of a wide range of environmental problems. In particular, in the first part of the course it will cover (1) evaluation of public environmental projects, (2) economic valuation of non-marketed ecosystem services, (3) the economics of renewable and non-renewable natural resources, and (4) environmental regulation. It thus introduces the students to the economic principles, reasoning and techniques to value intangible environmental goods and services, and analyse natural resource management problems, and regulatory tools to deal with pollution control, climate change, biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries, and other contemporary problems.

Module learning outcomes

After completing the module, successful students will be able to do:

- Describe and explain the interactions between the economy and the environment.
- Explain the concepts of market failure and property rights and how they related to environmental problems.
- Discuss and compare policy environmental instruments using economic insights.
- Critically assess the advantages and limitations of using cost-benefit analysis to inform public policy.
- Explain the conceptual framework and theoretical basis for environmental valuation, drawing on appropriate concepts from microeconomic theory and welfare economics.
- Explain central concepts and theories in natural resource modelling.
- Be familiar with techniques for numerical and analytical analysis of environmental and natural resource management problems.
- Evaluate the modelling results of optimal natural resource allocation (e.g. fisheries, forest, wildlife).
- Describe the application of revealed and stated preference techniques for estimating different categories of environmental value and recognise which techniques are the most appropriate to use when implementing empirical economic valuation research.

Module content

The general contents of the course, and the sequence of topics are as follows:

The environment and economics, market failures and property rights
Economic efficiency, and environmental protection
Social discounting, risk and uncertainty
Conceptual foundations to cost-benefit analysis
Environmental quality as a factor input
Random utility modes in environmental valuation
Hedonic pricing
Contingent valuation and choice experiments
Modelling, definitions, and natural resource allocations
Economics of fisheries, and other renewable resources
Economics of forest resources
Economics of non-renewable resources
Criteria for evaluating environmental policy instruments
Regulation with unknown control costs
Special topics and case studies on environmental economics


Task Length % of module mark
3500 word essay
N/A 50
Online Exam 24 hrs
24 Hours Economics for Natural Resources & Environmental Management
N/A 50

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students are required to submit an essay on a topic to be chosen from a list that will be distributed earlier in the autumn term, and will be given the opportunity to hand-in a 1-page outline of their essays in advance of their final submissions, in order to gain formative feedback on their progress. Students will be required to do informal group-presentations of relevant papers discussed in class. This opportunity will be used to provide feedback on their progress.


Task Length % of module mark
3500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Six week turn-sound time on summative coursework essay. Feedback is via written feedback sheet showing comments by markers.

Indicative reading

Boardman A.E. et al. (2011). Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice. 4th edition. Pearson.
Conrad, J., (2010), Resource Economics. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press
Freeman A.M. et al. (2014) The Measurement of Environmental and Resource Values. 2nd edition. RFF Press.
Kolstad C.D. (2011) Environmental Economics. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.
Perman M.A. et al (2011) Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. 4th edition. Pearson.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.