TKUC LogoTHE KING'S UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

COURSE NUMBER: ECON 315
COURSE TITLE: Ecological Economics
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Gerda Kits
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on a number of aspects of the relationship between economics and the environment, including: determining the nature of and need for sustainability in economic processes; examining the linkages between development end the environment; examining the causes of and policy responses to resource and environmental degradation; introducing ways to measure the environmental impact of economic processes; and examining international and transfrontier environmental issues.

Prerequisites: ECON 203
REQUIRED TEXTS: Required text: Jonathan M. Harris and Brian Roach. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach. 3rd Edition. M.E. Sharpe, 2013. ISBN 9780765637925.
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Tutorial quizzes10%
Case study participation10%
Course project20%
Midterm 120%
Midterm 220%
Final Exam20%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Every environmental problem that we face today is the result of human economic activities. Many of these are good and necessary activities - building homes, growing food, travelling, etc. Humans are permitted and even commanded to sustain themselves using the fruits of the earth. It is when we use these resources too rapidly, too voraciously, or in the wrong ways that we - and the rest of creation - run into trouble. And, in 2017, we are all aware that we are in serious trouble, as the global ecological crisis has become the single biggest issue that faces humanity today.

Therefore, this course examines the relationship between human economic activities and the natural environment that sustains them. We look for ways to analyse and quantify such interactions with an eye to identifying trouble spots. We spend much of the course looking at policies intended to shape economic behaviour in less harmful ways, and assessing their pros and cons. This is a practical and solutions-oriented course, but we also spend time thinking critically about the economic tools and policies commonly used to analyse such issues.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:
  • Identify, analyse and quantify the connections between economic and environmental systems, using economic theory and empirical data.
  • Describe a range of policy solutions to specific problems and assess their pros and cons, drawing on a variety of perspectives and criteria.
  • Critically assess, from a Christian perspective, the limitations of commonly used economic theories and policies.
  • Communicate information, analyses and arguments using appropriate means: orally, graphically, and in writing.
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Jan. 4   Welcome and introduction to the course
  • Jan. 6-8  Humans and nature: the circular flow diagram, perspectives on stewardship
  • Jan. 10  Criteria for decision-making: sustainability, justice, efficiency, feasibility
  • Jan. 13  Measuring macroeconomic scale
  • Jan. 16  Externalities
  • Jan. 18  No class - I.S. Conference
  • Jan. 20-Feb. 3 Externalities (con’t), the optimal pollution model and the Coase Theorem 
  • Feb. 6 Midterm #1
  • Feb. 8-10 Common property resources: Fisheries
  • Feb. 13-17 Common property resources: Forests
  • Feb. 20-24 No class - Reading Week 
  • Feb. 27-Mar. 1 Common property resources: Water
  • Mar. 3-8 Common property resources: Land
  • Mar. 10-13 Non-renewable resources: Intertemporal resource allocation
  • Mar. 15 Midterm #2
  • Mar. 17-20 Non-renewable resources: Recycling
  • Mar. 22-24 Energy and the transition to renewables
  • Mar. 27-31 Public goods and biodiversity
  • Apr. 3-7  Non-market valuation and cost-benefit analysis
  • Apr. 10  Indigenous land rights
  • Apr. 12  Green growth - is it possible?
  • TBD Final exam (date to be set by Registry)


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