Environment and Development

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Benjamin Groom STC. S420, Dr Charles Palmer STC. S303, Dr Richard Perkins STC. S413 and Prof Giles Atkinson STC. S302


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Environment and Development. This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Accounting, MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development, MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies and MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator


Students who have not completed a course in first year undergraduate level Economics might find it useful to audit EC100 Economics A

Course content

'Environment and Development' explores the complex relationship between environment and development using the concepts and tools used in applied economic analysis: ecological, development, environmental, and institutional economics. Focusing on a number of selected topics and issues of contemporary policy relevance, this relationship is examined in the MT at a more macro scale before moving to a micro-scale investigation of key ecosystem services and cross-cutting themes in LT.

MT: Theories of economic development, well-being, wealth and the challenge of sustainability; Nature, natural capital and economic development; Measuring progress towards sustainability; Economic growth and the environment; Trade, investment and the environment; Technological lock-in, system transformation and the innovation of green technologies; Corporate social responsibility: Drivers, strategy and outcomes.

LT: Environment-poverty trap and the role of population growth; Institutions and natural resource management; Biodiversity and economic development; Agriculture and food security; Water management and economic development; The energy transition and low-carbon development; Biofuels: food, fuel, and the environment; Tropical deforestation and dealing with market failure; Urban environment development; Policy design and evaluation for environment and development



15 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Indicative reading

MT: G Atkinson, S Dietz, E Neumayer and M Agarwala, Handbook of Sustainable Development, 2nd edition, Edward Elgar, 2014. M Blowfield and A Murray, Corporate Responsibility: A Critical Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, 2011.

LT: R Lopez and M Toman, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability. Columbia University Press, 2006. E Barbier, Natural Resources and Economic Development, Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 3000 words) in the LT.

(5,000 word extended essay (25%) for students of MSc Environment and Development not writing a dissertation).

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.2
Merit 55.9
Pass 26.1
Fail 3.8

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2017/18: 68

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 93%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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