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Semester Fall 2016
Economics 343 (Environmental Economics)
ECON 103 or ECON 215 or ECON 216, junior status, an overall GPA of at least 2.00
and a C- or better in HMXP 102.
Robert J. Stonebraker
Office Hours: M 3:30-4:30 p.m., T
9-11 a.m., W 12:30-1:30 p.m., R 9-11 a.m., F 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (no appointment needed)
Other times are
available by appointment.
Discussions of environmental issues and policies are too often framed in
superficial rhetoric and clouded by uniformed emotion. Students completing this course should be better able to discuss these
issues rationally and coherently. This includes being able to:
1. Discuss the concepts of efficient and sustainable resource
use and environmental pollution.
2. Explain the circumstances in which free markets will and
will not generate efficient patterns of resource use and pollution.
3. Characterize the types of public policies being used to curb
environmental problems and discuss their relative strengths and weaknesses.
- The course links to the following University-Level Competencies:
- Winthrop graduates think critically and solve
problems: The course will challenge students to think critically about a wide range of current
Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected
nature of the world and the time in which they live:
The course will examine the interconnectedness of environmental and economic
ecosystems and emphasize the value of collaborative efforts between natural
scientists and economists.
- Markets and the Environment,
2nd edition, by Nathaniel Keohane and Sheila Olmstead. This is a relatively inexpensive and concise treatment of environmental economics.
Although the text forms the foundation for what we will cover in the course, we
will go beyond what the text presents in some areas. Exam
questions will be based on the material discussed in class, however good class
notes and conscientious textbook reading reinforce each other.
- Grades will be determined by the following:
- Presentation: 10%
- Exam with highest grade:
- Other exams (26% each):
Exam questions will stress analysis rather than factual information and will
be based on the material presented in class. You will be expected to write
short essay/explanation answers and to solve graphical and numerical
problems. Students caught copying/cheating will be dealt with harshly. The
final exam will be given at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 12 and will include some specified review
material. You may use non-programmable calculators during exams, but graphing
calculators, cell phone calculators or other programmable calculators are NOT
allowed. The approximate grading scale will be:
86 - 100%
72 - 85%
60 - 71%
50 - 59%
0 - 49%
for a spreadsheet that will calculate your course average.
- Make-up policy:
- Make-up exams will be given to students with what I judge to be a valid
excuse. Needing more time to study is not a valid excuse. If you cannot make
an exam I expect to be notified as quickly as possible, preferably before the
exam. Students who do not notify me in a
timely manner should not expect a make-up exam.
- In addition to exams,
there will be two other graded assignments, each worth 10% of your final grade: an in-class presentation on an energy topic (click here for details) and a journal
(click here for details).
- Cell phones and related devices:
- I expect never to see cell phones in class. That means no texting and no
checking messages; even under the desk where you think I will not see them.
Laptops, tablets or similar electronic devices may be used for note-taking
or specified course activities with the instructorís permission. Students
using these devices must turn off the wireless function and close all
applications/windows other than the allowed document or application. Each
time a student is caught violating this policy I will deduct one point from
his/her final average.
- Attendance policy:
- While I expect you to attend every class on time and will hold you responsible
for all class material whether or not you attend, there are no attendance requirements However, based on past
experience, there is a high probability that students who miss class
frequently will have very low exam scores.
- Course withdrawal:
- Friday, October 21 is the last day to withdraw from this course. (Automatic N grade
is issued.) Students may not withdraw from a course after this date
without documented extenuating circumstances.
- Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access:
- Winthrop University is committed to providing access to education.
If you have a condition which may adversely impact your ability to access
academics and/or campus life, and you require specific accommodations to
complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please inform me as early as possible, once
you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of
- As a student you should expect me to take my class responsibilities
seriously. You should expect me to deliver quality instruction in each class,
to start and end each class on time, to be responsive to student perspectives
and questions, and to treat each of you with respect. In
addition to adherence to Winthropís Code of Student Conduct, I expect similarly
responsible behavior from you. However, students that treat this class with a
cavalier attitude should expect a similar response from the instructor.
- I. Introduction: Issues to Come
- chapter 1
- II. Environmental Economics: Basic Concepts and Tools
- A. Static and dynamic efficiency
- chapter 2
- Video: Future and Present Value
- Video: Calculating Net Present Value
- B. Cost-benefit analysis
- chapter 3
- III. Markets and
- A. Efficiency of markets
- chapter 4
- B. Market failures
- chapter 5
- IV. Economics of Natural Resources
- A. Efficient intertemporal allocations
- chapter 6
- Exam #1: Approximately Monday, October 3
- B. Sustainability
- pp. 231-245 in chapter 11
- C. Energy
- D. Water
- pp. 214-217 in chapter 10
- E. Forests and fisheries
- chapter 7 and pp. 207-214 in chapter
10 on tradable fishing quotas
Exam #2: Approximately Monday, November 14
- V. Economics of Environmental Pollution
- A. Market-based controls in theory
- chapters 8 and 9
- B. Current control policies
- VI. Final Thoughts
- pp. 245-253 in chapter 11, chapter 12
Exam: 11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 12
- I reserve the right to modify this syllabus with cause if unexpected
Last modified 09/21/16