Spring 2020 - ECON 260 D100

Environmental Economics (3)

Class Number: 1920

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SWH 10041, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2020
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    Location: TBA

  • Prerequisites:

    ECON 103 or 200.



Economic analysis of environmental problems (water and air pollution, etc.). Evaluation of market failures due to externalities and public goods. Market and non-market regulation of environmental problems. Students with credit for ECON 360 may not take this course for further credit. Quantitative.


This course introduces students to the relationship between economic activity and the environment. The objective is to familiarize students with the causes, consequences and possible solutions to local and global environmental issues. Topics covered include externalities, public goods, cost-benefits analysis, environmental degradation and policies for environmental regulations. The course will also cover global environmental issues such as ozone depletion and biodiversity.


1.  Introduction (Field & Olewiler, Ch. 1, 2)
-   Environmental Problems and Economic Approaches, Incentives,
-   Externalities and Property Rights, Sustainability
-   Linkages between the Economy and the Environment  

2.  Fundamental Concepts and Analytical Tools (Field & Olewiler, Ch. 3, 4, 5)
-   Markets and Competition, Market Valuation
-   Market Failures (Monopoly, Externalities, Public Goods, Common Property Resources, etc)
-   Scarcity and Economic Rent
-   Social Efficiency and Economic Welfare concepts and measurement
-   Environmental Quality and Socially Efficient level of Emissions  

3.  Valuing the Environment and Benefit Cost Analysis (Field & Olewiler, Ch. 6, 7, 8)
-   Measuring Environmental Benefits and Costs
-   Discounting and Interest Rates, Social vs. Private Discounting
-   Theory vs. Practice: Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, and Environmental Impact Analysis
-   Uncertainty and Risk Analysis  

4.  Environmental Policy Analysis (Field & Olewiler, Ch. 9, 10, 11-14)
-   Environmental Policy Evaluation Criteria
-   Strengths and Weaknesses of the Market Valuation Approach
-   Efficiency vs. Equity (Fairness) and Environmental Issues
-   Liability Laws, Property Rights, and the Coase Theorem
-   Environmental Standards, Emission Taxes and Subsidies, Transferable Pollution Permits  

5.  Environmental Policy in Canada (Field & Olewiler, Ch. 15-19)
-   Control of Water Pollution
-   Air Pollution
-   Hazardous Wastes, Solid Waste and Recycling issues  

6.  Global Environmental Problems and Sustainability (Field & Olewiler, Ch. 20)
-   Limits to Growth Issues, Sustainable Development
-   Non-Renewable Resource Problems and Issues, Conservation, Re-Cycling
-   Renewable Environmental Resource Problems and Issues
-   Biodiversity and Endangered Species
-   Macroeconomic Approaches to Global Environmental Problems, Sustainable Development
-   Global Climate Change and GHG Emissions, Kyoto Protocol


  • Projects (2) 20%
  • Tutorial 5%
  • Midterm 30%
  • Final 45%



Field, B. C. and Olewiler, N., Environmental Economics, 4th Canadian edition, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2011                    

Additional readings can be found on course website:  http://www.sfu.ca/~wainwrig

Department Undergraduate Notes:


Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) at 778-782-3112 or caladmin@sfu.ca.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html