module specification

EC7083 - Environmental Economics and Investment (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Environmental Economics and Investment
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Research essay (2000 words 30%) plus presentation (20 mins - 10%.)
Unseen Examination 60%   Exam 2 hours
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Tuesday Evening

Module summary

The module allies economic principles in an investigation of the causes, consequences and possible solutions to problems of environmental degradation and climate change. The three major themes in the module are (i) the determination of the optimum levels of environmental resource usage (ii) the analyses of alternative ways of attaining those targets and (iii) the impact of these actions on business decision making. The crucial notion of 'sustainability' is a key investigation. So are the proximate and underlying causes of environmental problems. The main aim of the module is to introduce students to the economists’ way of analysing environmental problems.

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with:

  1. a systematic knowledge and understanding of the principles of environmental economics;
  2. a critical awareness of sustainability debates both within economics and between economics and other disciplines with respects to environmental degradation brought about by economic activity across the globe;
  3. an ability to participate in policy debates;
  4. an awareness of the impact on businesses of the changing nature of the natural and regulatory environment;
  5. a range of transferable skills and subject-specific knowledge that will be of value to employers.

The module also aims to develop students' skills, in particular: self-assessment and reflection; academic study skills; subject research; quantitative analysis; data analysis; problem solving; applied analysis;
literacy; academic study skills; critical thinking; self-assessment and reflection.


Basic understanding of the problem of sustainable development and limits to growth. Introduction to sources of pollution, ecological systems and ecological economics.
The causes of environmental problems: population, income and consumerism; technology; property rights, externalities and market failure.
Determination of the optimum levels of environmental resource usage: the equi-marginal principle.
Evaluation of alternative types of environmental policy instruments: the Coase Theorem; command and control; taxes; subsidies; and tradable permits. Environmental regulation (taxes, penalties) vs market and voluntary instruments.
Socio-economic management tools, including the promotion of eco-friendly attitudes by the state in conjunction with civil society (NGO’s, churches, etc.).
Valuation of environmental resources: total economic value and valuation techniques.
The economics of biodiversity as a case study: evaluation of the complex value of biodiversity and policy responses to the current massive loss of biodiversity.
A bird's eye view on the economics of climate change: balancing the costs and benefits of climate change policies.
Real options and investment economics as an approach to deciding when and how much to invext in conservation activities.

Learning and teaching

Students’ learning is organised around direct contact time with the teaching team, and reflective independent learning. The direct contact time takes place through lectures, seminars and group workshops. Students are expected to complement this 'formal' learning activity with further reading of the material suggested in the teaching sessions, solving realistic business problems using economic analysis, research, writing, planning and preparation for group presentations, class tests (final exam).
Student contact time will normally be 3 hours per week. Lectures will typically be around 1.5 hour duration and will deliver core subject knowledge in environmental economics. As this module emphasises the development of theory, policy and application students will be given environmental problems to solve. This activity will form the basis of the seminar.
The contact time with teaching teams will be organised around a range of learning activities including active learning to acquire knowledge and understanding, problem solving, problem based learning, presentations, analysis of case studies, group reading and analysis of research papers, discussion of policy issues and debate.
A number of activities will require students to carry out independent work prior to meetings with lecturers. Students will be required to engage with research published in high level academic journals and research institutes.
Professional and transferable skills are developed in lectures and seminars, and through independent directed learning and assessment. Skills development is enhanced through problem solving and problem-based learning practiced in seminars, working co-operatively in groups around tasks that reflect the learning outcomes specified earlier in the document.
The module makes extensive use of blended learning through use of virtual learning environment platforms (WebLearn) in which module lecture material, course handbooks, test questions, feedback on assessment, and other material is placed. Other ICT resources include links to key web resources such as Government departments, and research institutes.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a good understanding of the principles of economic analysis and its application in examining environmental problems through an appreciate the economic causes and consequences of environmental degradation brought about by economic activity;
  2. understand and critically evaluate the extent to which market-based mechanisms might provide a solution to the problem of environmental degradation in the absence of overt intervention and the need for, and role of, environmental regulation;
  3. understand, and appreciate, the differences between alternative methods for valuing environmental resources and environmental damages;
  4. appreciate the economic consequences of alternative types of policy instruments for biodiversity conservation;
  5. appreciate the role of cultural and attitudinal factors as determinants of environmental degradation and of the need for these to be addressed for the purpose of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is developed with the aim of testing the module's learning outcomes. Students will be assessed by both formative and summative assessment through coursework and an in-class test. The essay and its presentation, and the class test will assess all learning outcomes and will provide a thorough assessment of students' knowledge of the key issues in contemporary environmental economics and their ability to synthesising and present complex reasoning clearly and concisely.


Berck, P., Helfand, H. (2011), Economics of the Environment, Pearson
Chesney, M., Gheyssens, J. and Taschini, L. (2013), Environmental finance and investments. Heidelberg: Springer
Collier, P. (2010), The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature, Allen Lane.
Hanley, N., Shogren, J., and White, B. (2007), Introduction to Environmental Economics Oxford University Press
Perman, R., Ma, Y., McGilvray, J. and Common M. (2011), Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, Third Edition, Pearson Education
Tietenberg, T. and Lewis L. (2009), Environmental and Natural Resource Economics,
8th Edition, Pearson Addison Wesley.
Tietenberg T. and Lewis. L. (2010), Environmental Economics and Policy, 6th edition,
Turner, R.K., Pearce, D.W. and Bateman, I. (1994), Environmental Economics: An Elementary Introduction, Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Carter et al. 2006. “The Stern Review: a dual Critique, Part 1: the Science”, in World Economics 7: 165-198
Glikson, A., 2007. ‘A response to a dual Critique’, World Economics 8: 233-238
Hansen, J., L. Nazarenko, R. Ruedy et al. (2005), ‘Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and implications’,
Science 308, 1431-1435
Stern N., (2006), ‘What is the economics of climate change?, World Economics 7: 1-10.
Toll, R. and Yohe, G. (2006), ‘A review of the Stern Review’, World Economics 7: 233-250
Mulatu, A., Gerlagg. R, Rigby, D. & Wossink, A. 2010. "Environmental Regulation and Industry Location in Europe," Environmental & Resource Economics, vol. 45(4), pages 459-479.
Girardi, G., (2016), What determines changes in attitude towards global climate change? An application of transformative learning theory, in Leal, W. (ed), Climate Change Management, special edition on Innovative Approaches to Implement Climate Change Adaptation, Springer
Girardi, G., (2017), ‘Escaping the economist’s straightjacket: overcoming the free-rider mentality which prevents climate change from being effectively addressed’, in Leal, W (ed) Universities and Climate Change: the Role of Higher Education Institutions in Addressing the Mitigation and Adaptation Challenges, Springer

United Nations experts summary report on “Sustainable Development: harmony with nature”, August 2016,