Spring 2020 - ECON 460 E100

Seminar in Environmental Economics (3)

Class Number: 1824

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    WMC 3511, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    ECON 302.



Focus will vary from term to term. Quantitative.


The field of environmental economics examines how environmental resources (e.g. clean air, water, greenhouse gases) are developed and managed. This course aims at equipping students with economic methods and tools to analyze basic environmental issues. This is important because over the next years, policymakers will have to make crucial decisions that will define the future of the environment, transportation and energy. Here are some of the questions and issues that will guide this course: The way we commute, drive and which energy sources the society will use in 30 or 50 years will likely be fundamentally different from today. Will it be the electric car, public transportation, solar energy or natural gas? How will cities adapt to the challenges of increasing urbanization and air pollution? How do firms and households respond to incentives, policy instruments and new technologies? What are the consequences in terms of air quality, health and economic well-being? These are important questions that environmental economists try to answer. This course hence combines theoretical analysis with discussions on specific environmental policies as applied to air pollution, energy, climate change and human health issues. Within these examples, particular topics that will be covered are the concepts of sustainability, microeconomic analysis of environmental regulation, the problem of social cost, policy instrument choice, and estimating costs and benefits of environmental improvements via revealed preferences, hedonic analysis. 

Some of the topics covered will include:  

  • Introduction to Environmental Economics
  • Econometric Background
  • Simple Model of Environmental Economics
  • Categorization of Pollutants
  • Thermodynamics
  • Sustainability
  • Environmental Health
  • Volkswagen Cheating Scandal
  • The Tragedy of the Commons
  • Efficiency and Environmental Markets
  • Economics of Climate Change
  • Climate and Quality of Life
  • Traffic Policies and Differences and Differences


  • Class participation 10%
  • Problem sets 15%
  • Midterm exam 1 25%
  • Midterm exam 2 25%
  • Final written project 25%



Barry C. Field and Martha K. Field. Environmental Economics: An Introduction. Seventh Edition, 2016 McGraw-Hill Irwin.  

Charles Kolstad. Environmental Economics, Second Edition, 2010 Oxford University Press.

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