Natural Resources and the Environment: Economics, Law, Politics, and Institutions


IntroductionAn overview of environmental and natural resource issuesExercises/discussion questionsReferencesA mini-course in basic economic theoryScarcity, tradeoffs, and opportunity costsThinking in terms of costs and benefitsThree important notionsResource allocation mechanisms: MarketsAn extremely important concept: ElasticityEconomic efficiency and equityTwo important qualificationsIntertemporal allocationKey takeawaysKey conceptsAnswers to “Test your understanding” questionsAdditional problems/exercisesValuationAn important distinction: Marketed vs. non-marketed goodsUse of valuation numbers: Cost-benefit analysis againImportant special case: Cost-benefit analyses with long time horizonsSustainabilityHow does one put a number on the value of the environment?Exercises/discussion questionsNotesFurther readingsReferencesInstitutions, property rights, and transaction costsTransaction costsProperty rightsExercises/discussion questionsNotesReferencesCommon-pool resourcesWhat is a CPR?An important metaphor: The tragedy of the commonsInterpreting the tragedy of the commonsOstrom’s design principlesSocial-ecological systemsA final possibility: The anticommonsKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsReferencesPublic choice and the politics of environmental policyWhat is public choice?Special interest politicsAn expanded public choice perspective on the Coase Theorem4The supply of policy under the public choice frameworkExercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsReferencesPopulationOverview of populationA model of population change: The demographic transition modelStages 2-4: Patterns of economic developmentPopulation policiesKey takeawaysKey conceptsFurther readingsReferencesFossil fuel energyReal-world oil marketsEnvironmental impacts of fossil fuel useEconomic analysis of fossil fuel consumptionLocal solutions: The common-pool problemHydraulic fracturingExercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsReferencesClimate changeScientific causes of climate change: The greenhouse effectEnvironmental impacts of climate changeEconomics of climate changeWhat to do?The challenges of international cooperationExercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsReferencesAir and water qualityClean air and water policiesEconomic analysis of air and water qualityThe property rights approach to air and water quality protectionPublic choice in environmental policy: Clean air policy in the 1970sEmissions trading: 1990 Clean Air Act AmendmentsKey concepts:Exercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsReferencesEnergy conservation and energy efficiencyThe origins of energy conservation effortsEconomics of energy conservationI. Market failuresThe energy-efficiency gapTwo energy conservation policiesThe importance of social norms in energy conservationKey takeawaysKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsNotesFurther readingsReferencesRenewable energyBasic economic model of renewable energyWhen will renewable energy be competitive with fossil fuel energy in the future? Is it now?Public policies regarding renewable energyGovernment support for nuclear power: Path dependence in actionPublic choice and renewables subsidiesKey takeawaysKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsReferencesAgricultureOverview of world agricultureInstitutions and property rightsAgricultural policies and public choiceKey takeawaysKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsFurther readingsWater resourcesOverview of world water resourcesThe hydrologic cycleInstitutional rules governing water useWater policy optionsLocal water governance: An application of SESKey takeawaysKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsNotesFurther readingsReferencesFisheriesTraditional policy prescriptionsA property rights perspective on fisheriesManaging local fisheriesPublic choice in fishery managementKey takeawaysKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsReferencesForests and deforestationForests and deforestation: A world overviewInternational institutions for forest managementModeling forest resourcesForest management policy toolsDebt-for-nature swapsA property rights perspective on forests and timberSocial-ecological systems in forestry managementPublic choice and deforestationKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsNotesFurther readingsReferencesWildlife, endangered species, and biodiversityInstitutions governing species protection: The United States and EuropeInstitutions governing international trade in endangered speciesThe economic approach to endangered species protectionA useful metaphor: The Noah’s Ark problemEconomics of the ESAManaging wild elephant populations in AfricaPublic choice issues surrounding endangered species protectionKey conceptsExercises/discussion questionsNotesReferencesConclusion Institutional environmental economicsThe normative vs. the positive view of governmentTransaction costs and environmental policy: Coase expanded
 
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