Economics Of Nature (i.e., "Environmental Economics")
Fall 2010 GMU Syllabus

Economics 335, meets TT, 9:00-10:15am, during Fall 2010, in Robinson Hall Room B220.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Associate Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially TT 1:30-3:00pm. But I'm usually in at 10b Carow Hall. Call ahead (703-993-2326) if you want to be sure.

Catalog Entry:

Econ 335 Environmental Economics (3:3:0). Prerequisites: ECON 103 and 104. Microeconomic analysis of environmental problems. Topics include an analysis of externali ties and market failure, alternative solutions and policies, problems in monitoring and enforcement, economic analysis of the development of legislation and regulation, and applications to current policy issues.
Recommended Texts: (None are required.)
Chris Boehm, Hierarchy in the Forest, 1999, ISBN 780674006911

Tom Tietenberg, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, 8th Ed, 2009, ISBN 9780321485717

Barry and Martha Field, Environmental Economics, 5th Ed, 2009, ISBN 9780073375762

Scott Callan and Janet Thomas, Environmental Economics & Management, 4th Ed, 2006, ISBN 9780324320671

Bjorn Lomborg, Skeptical Environmentalist, 2001, ISBN 9780521010689

Goal of Class
Familiarity with the basic facts and issues of the economics of nature, and giving economically-coherent defenses of one's opinions on such topics.
Assignments: Defended Opinion Topics
  1. Should make rules on hazardous waste the same for businesses vs. homes, and for natural vs. artificial harms?
  2. To reduce chemical runoff from lawns into the bay, should we require rain gardens or tax lawns based on chemical tests on random dates?
  3. Defend a Design: What to do about human-substitute robots?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz, 13% per Defended Opinions, 17% final.

WeekLecture Topic
31 Aug Introduction & Econ Review
7 Sept Externalities & Public Goods
14 Sept Mechanisms to Mitigate Externalities No Class Thursday
21 Sept Air, Water, Noise, Light
28 Sept Food, Energy, Recycling
5 Oct Land, Forrest, Fish
12 Oct Global Warming No Class Tuesday
19 Oct Population
26 Oct More Population
2 Nov Primates and Foragers
9 Nov Farmers and Industrialists
16 Nov Nanotech, Artificial Intelligence
23 Nov Robots And Nature No Class Thursday
30 Nov Cosmic Commons and Very Long Run
7 Dec Review & Slack No Class Tuesday
16 Dec Final Exam, 7:30-10:15am

Misc Links

Survey on 2050

Near-Far Summary

US EPA National Center for Environmental Economics

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

NBER papers on Environmental Economics

Disability Notice

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 703.993.2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office.

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