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EC240: Environmental Economics & Sustainable Development


Course Content

Environmental economics is a comparatively young, but by now well-established, branch of economic study. In successfully applying standard microeconomic analysis to the field of the natural environment and sustainable development, economists have challenged many erroneous, but strongly held preconceptions of policy makers and environmentalists alike. For example, the course will show that the efficient level of environmental pollution is, in general, not zero and that there is no risk of running out of fossil fuel non-renewable resources any time soon.

Conversely, however, policy makers fail to understand the fundamental drivers behind renewable resource extinction (particularly species loss), are over-optimistic when it comes to the environmental consequences of economic growth and insufficiently grasp the obstacles toward achieving strong multilateral agreements for solving international and global environmental problems.

The topics covered will include:

  • Environmental externalities and the theory of market failure
  • Economics of pollution control (the efficient level of environmental pollution, taxes, tradeable permits, command-and-control)
  • Economics of natural resource use (non-renewable resources such as oil, gas and metals as well as renewable resources such as fish and forests) 
  • Economics of sustainable development (including the measurement of sustainable development and the effect of economic growth on the environment)  
  • Valuation of environmental resources (including cost-benefit analysis)
  • Economics of international environmental problems (including the impact of trade and investment liberalization on the environment)
  • Economics of climate change (including the analytical controversy among environmental economists and a focus on the Kyoto Protocol as the only global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions).

Course Outcomes

This course aims to provide students with a sound knowledge and understanding of the major results of environmental economics. Its intention is to deliver the fundamentals of rigorous economic analysis for continued undergraduate studies at a higher level, or graduate studies of environmental economics. 

World-class LSE teaching             

The LSE Department of Economics is one of the biggest and best in the world, with expertise across the full spectrum of mainstream economics. A long-standing commitment to remaining at the cutting edge of developments in the field has ensured the lasting impact of its work on the discipline as a whole.

It is a leading research department, consistently ranked in the top 20 economics departments worldwide. This is reflected in the 2014 Research Assessment exercise which recognised the Department's outstanding contribution to the field

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s economics faculty.



B. C. Field and M. K. Field,  Environmental Economics: An Introduction, (6th edition), McGraw-Hill.(2012).

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice



Session: Two

Dates:  11 - 29 July 2016

Lecturer: Professor Eric Neumayer  

Level: 200 level

Fees: Click here for information

Prerequisites: Introductory microeconomics, knowledge of differential calculus

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: Two written examinations

Typical credit**: 3 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

How to apply?

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*assessment is optional – see FAQs

**You will need to check with your home institution. Read more about credit transfer here.