AEM_451_ECON_409_Syllabus - Environmental Economics AEM 451...

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Environmental Economics AEM 451 / ECON 409, Spring Semester 2008 Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:55-4:10 pm Warren 360 Web site accessible through blackboard.cornell.edu ...we are at a point in the evolution of environmental policy at which the economics profession is in a very favorable position to influence the course of policy. .. - M. L. Cropper and W. E. Oates Journal of Economic Literature Course Description: The management of environmental resources is inherently economic, involving trade-offs between things we desire, the costs of production, and damages to environmental resources. As suggested by the above quote, economists can offer unique perspectives on existing incentives to deplete and protect environmental resources, and provide insights on valuing environmental resources and incorporating these values into policy design. For example, the generation of electricity provides things we desire, but it became clear in the 1970s and 1980s that prevailing methods of electricity generation contributed to “acid rain” pollution, particularly in the northeastern states. Economic analyses were instrumental in the determination that the benefits of reducing the pollutants causing acid rain exceeded the costs of adopting less polluting methods of electricity generation. Moreover, to achieve the desired abatement levels, economic principles were pivotal in the design of a flexible, market-based abatement program that saved billions of dollars and allowed pollution reduction targets to be met more quickly than traditional regulatory approaches. This course explores the economic foundations for public decision-making about environmental issues. Emphasis is placed on the conventional welfare economics approach centering on market failure due to externalities and public goods, benefit-cost analysis, cost-effective policy design, and non-market valuation. Property rights/institutional perspectives and ecological economics/sustainability concepts are also introduced. Econ. 409 / AEM 451 is intended for undergraduate students in AEM, Economics, Natural Resources, and in other disciplines who are interested in extending concepts from intermediate microeconomic principles to the design of environmental policy. The course is designed to complement AEM 450/ECON 450, although neither serves as a prerequisite for the other. Lectures and readings presume an intermediate understanding of microeconomic theory and introductory Calculus. Assigned readings include chapters from an environmental economics text as well as several contemporary and “classic” articles in environmental economics. Topics:
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AEM_451_ECON_409_Syllabus - Environmental Economics AEM 451...

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