ECON 3500 - Resource and Environmental Economics III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

This course studies the application of economic analysis to the management of the environmental and natural resources. We will consider the role of economic theory in understanding and solving environmental and resource problems and discuss empirical examinations of the theory. Domestic and international policy implications will be addressed. A key assessment component will involve students engaging first-hand in changing behaviour regarding a resource or environmental issue of direct relevance to them. Topics that may be covered include: air and water pollution, sustainability, renewable and non-renewable resource management, and the impact of trade.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 3500
    Course Resource and Environmental Economics III
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible ECON 3003
    Assumed Knowledge ECON 2506 or C&ENVENG 1008
    Assessment Typically a project, tutorial assignments & final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Stephanie McWhinnie

    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 4, Room 4.11
    Office hour: will be posted on MyUni
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1 To apply economic analysis to the management of the environment and natural resources
    2 To analyse theoretical and empirical research in environmental and natural resource economics
    3 To prepare a policy report that develops knowledge and practical implementation of relevant economic theory in understanding and addressing an environmental or natural resource issue
    4 To develop good inter-personal and communication skills through writing a policy diary, giving a group presentation and contributing to critical discussion
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1 & 2
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 2 & 3
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3 & 4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    3 & 4
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    3 & 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbook (used for approximately half of the course): Perman R., Y. Ma, M. Common, D. Maddison, and J. McGilvray (2011) Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. Fourth Edition, Pearson-Addison Wesley.

    In addition to the textbook we will be specifically referring to a selection of journal articles, these will be linked on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Access to a textbook from Intermediate Microeconomics may be helpful as the content is the assumed knowledge of this course.

    There are many interesting references in this field as it is a very active and issue-driven area of economics. For your further reference you might like to consider the following journals and books, available at, or online through, the Library. I am happy to recommend further material upon request.
    • Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
    • Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
    • Land Economics
    • Ecological Economics
    • Environment and Resource Economics
    • Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
    • Kahn, J.R. (2005) The Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources. Third Edition, Thomson South-Western
    • Pearce, D.W. and R.K. Turner (1990) Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment. Prentice Hall
    • Hartwick, J.M. and N.D. Olewiler (1998) The Economics of Natural Resource Use. Second Edition, Addison Wesley
    • Tietenberg T. (2003) Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. Sixth Edition, Addison Wesley.
    Online Learning
    All course material including lecture notes, assessment information and material, readings and announcements will be provided on MyUni. I expect you to check there regularly.  Lectures will typically be recorded but they should be considered a complement to, rather than a substitute for attendance.  In the event of technical failure it will be the student's responsibility to find an alternative source of information.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Each topic is divided into a lecture component and a tutorial component. The lecture covers the key concepts of a particular topic. Tutorials will consolidate your understanding of course material by working through analytical problems and expand your understanding of course material through group discussion of related academic journal articles. You should use the relevant sections of the textbook and other assigned readings to enhance your understanding of topics covered in the lectures and tutorials.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This translates to 12 hours per week for a semester course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The first part of the course deals with the environment, paying particular attention to pollution and climate change. We will introduce and consider issues relating to externalities, sustainability and valuation of the environment.

    The second part of the course deals with models of renewable resources, specifically focussing on fisheries and forests. We will consider the domestic and international management implications of these models and discuss the empirical evidence on fisheries depletion, deforestation and management techniques.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assignments 10%. Best four out of five equally-weighted assignments challenging you to understand the material presented in lectures. (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2).  Due dates and submission instructions will be announced on MyUni.

    Group Presentation 5%: Each small group will critically discuss an academic journal article. (Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 4). Groups and presentation dates will be determined in the first tutorial.

    Tutorial Participation 5%: Participation in class discussion of other group presentations and associated article. (Learning Outcomes 2 and 4)

    Environmental/Natural Resource Policy Challenge 25%:  Students will undertake a policy challenge that will involve keeping an online journal and submitting a short policy report/recommendation.  Full information will be provided in the lecture and on MyUni. (Learning Outcomes 3 and 4) 

    Final Exam 55%: There will be a two-hour final exam. (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2)
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Legible hand-writing and the quality of English expression are considered to be integral parts of the assessment process, and may affect marks.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignments: The five assignments will include analytical and numerical problems and short answer questions. Only your best four out of five will count towards your grade.

    Group Presentation: Each tutorial section will be broken into groups of three-five students who will together be responsible for giving a 15-20 minute critical presentation of an academic journal article. A detailed assessment outline and criteria will be given in the first tutorial.

    Tutorial Participation: Participation in discussion of the articles presented by other groups is important to aid development of critical analysis skills.

    Environmental/Natural Resource Policy Challenge: The objective of the challenge is to develop a practical understanding of a particular environmental/natural resource issue.  By engaging in a personal challenge - as determined individually - and recording this in a journal, you will think about the process of changing behaviour.  At the end of the challenge you will write a short policy/report summarising the purpose of the change and what economic policy tools could be used to implement and support change in a wider group of individuals (consumers and/or producers).  A detailed assessment outline and criteria will be given at the start of the course and on MyUni.

    Final Exam: The two-hour final exam will include analytical and numerical problems, and short answer and essay questions. Please note that, following University policy, dictionaries are not allowed in School of Economics exams.
    All assignments, journal entries and reports are to be submitted as directed on the due dates. Should you wish to hand your assessment in late, it will be accepted but will be subject to a 20% penalty per day late (i.e. up to 24 hours late = 20% penalty, 24 to 48 hours late = 40% penalty, ... 96 to 120 hours late = 100% penalty). Lateness due to medical or compassionate reasons, supported by appropriate documents, will not be subject to penalty.

    It is intended that all assessment will be returned within two weeks.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Additional Assessment
    If a student receives 45-49 for their final mark for the course they will automatically be granted an additional assessment. This will most likely be in the form of a new exam (Additional Assessment) and will have the same weight as the original exam unless an alternative requirement (for example a hurdle requirement) is stated in this semester’s Course Outline. If, after replacing the original exam mark with the new exam mark, it is calculated that the student has passed the course, they will receive 50 Pass as their final result for the course (no higher) but if the calculation totals less than 50, their grade will be Fail and the higher of the original mark or the mark following the Additional Assessment will be recorded as the final result.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    A summary of and response regarding past SELTs for this course is available on MyUni.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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