SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Economics of environment and development

Module Code:
Taught in:
Term 2

The course is divided into three sections: macro economic issues, microeconomic issues and the economics of climate change. On the macro side issues covered include the relationship of the environment to growth and trade, sustainable economic development and the so-called "resource curse". On the micro side the theory and application of environmental policy in developing countries is discussed as well as the link between environment, poverty and population. the course culminates with three lectures on the economics of climate change. The applicability of traditional economic analysis to this problem is discussed including the thorny issue of intergenerational equity, that is, how to find the balance between the well-being of future and current generations when deciding how to act on climate change. This course also covers the failure of international agreements such as Kyoto to make any significant strides towards halting climate change.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss the micro principles of environmental economics and natural resource management, illustrated through the subjects of environmental resources, population and fertility, and poverty and development.
  • Recognise and contrast the impact on the environment of market, institutional and collective failures.
  • Analyse the impact of trade on the environment and the importance of natural resources in economic growth

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: 70% Exam, 30% Coursework

Suggested reading

Background Reading

The course will draw from a number of texts in environmental and resource economics, as well as development economics. These include:

  • Baland, J.M., and J.P. Platteau (1996). Halting Degradation of Natural Resources. FAO and Oxford      University Press.
  • Barbier E (2006). Natural Resources and Economic Development. Cambridge University Press.
  • Daspgupta P (1993). An inquiry into well-being and destitution. Oxford : Clarendon Press A330.91724 /682771.
  • Hanley N., J.Shogren and B.White. (1997). Environmental Economics in Theory and Practice. 1st edition only. Basingstoke: Macmillan.  A333.7 /783687.
  • Lopez R and Toman M (2006). Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability. The Initiative for Policy Dialogue Series. Oxford University Press.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules