436 Lecture Note 1 SP16 - 1.1 ECON 436 SP16 Lecture 1...

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1.1 ECON 436 SP16 Lecture 1 Outline Syllabus Economic View of the Environment Technical alternatives for reducing pollution Market failures Government failures Syllabus Page 1 reviews the course requirements. There will be two non-cumulative exams and eight required problem sets. The exams will count for 90% of the grade. The exam grade for the course will be a weighted average of the (curved) numeric grades assigned to the individual exams, with the exam on which you do better receiving a weight of 0.6 and the exam on which you do worse a weight of 0.4. Last year’s exams are posted on the class website and can be used both as a preview of the types of questions that will be asked and as sources of practice questions in studying for this Quarter’s exams. The problem sets will count for the other 10% of the course grade. They will be graded credit/no credit, with full credit being given provided only that a sincere effort was made at completing the problem set. Detailed answer sheets will be provided when the graded problem sets are handed back so that you can see whether your answers were correct. Previous students have frequently reported that they found that doing the problem sets and reviewing the answer sheets was the best way to learn the material. The second page of the syllabus reviews the exam rules, which will be strictly enforced. The remaining pages of the syllabus contain the schedule of lectures and exams. The dates shown for the lectures and the mid-term exam may be revised as the Quarter proceeds. (The date for the second exam. June 2 nd , is firm.) There is no textbook or course pack for this course. Lecture notes will be posted on the course webpage, which can be accessed through MyUW. Practice exams, problem sets, answers for the problem sets, and other course materials will also be posted there.
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1.2 ECON 436 SP16 My office hours during the Spring Quarter are from 2:45 to 3:45 on Monday, 3:45 to 4:45 on Tuesday, and 3:00 to 4:00 on Friday in Savery 351. An appointment to meet at another mutually convenient time can be made in person after class, by phone at 543-5546, or by email at [email protected] Email can also be used to ask any short questions that may arise as you review your notes or work on the problem sets. Economic view of the environment The economic view of the environment is essentially anthropocentric, that is, we value the environment for the services that it provides to humans. But the services are not necessarily materialistic, much less market-based. Instead they consist of whatever enters individuals’ utility functions, which may include esthetics, preservation of species, etc. Environmental services can be grouped broadly into four types: 1. Life support for humans 2. Amenities 3. Material inputs 4. Disposal of residuals Services 3 and 4 are directly linked because of the law of conservation of matter, which implies that the total mass of residuals disposed of in the environment is equal to the total mass of inputs taken from the environment, as illustrated by the simplified materials balance model in Diagram 1.1.
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