Spring 2022 - ECON 460 D100

Seminar in Environmental Economics (3)

Class Number: 4035

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    WMC 2532, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    ECON 302 with a minimum grade of C-.



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. Students will learn to critically assess the modern literature in environmental economics and also develop their own research paper.

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

* The Tragedy of the Commons

* Efficiency and Environmental Markets

* Economics of Climate Change

* Climate and Quality of Life

* Traffic Policies and Differences and Differences


  • Student Seminar Presentations 30%
  • Problem Sets 10%
  • Midterm Exams (2) 40%
  • Final Written Project 20%





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:

Please note that, as per Policy T20.01, the course requirements (and grading scheme) outlined here are subject to change up until the end of the first week of classes.

Final exam schedules will be released during the second month of classes. If your course has a final exam, please ensure that you are available during the entire final exam period until you receive confirmation of your exam dates. 

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.