Economics 385
    Environmental Economics      

Spring 2006
Dr. Tom Andrews
313 Anderson Hall
West Chester PA 19383
610- 436-1082

Text: *Essential Microeconomic Principles by John Bouman (Howard Community College)   An online microeconomics text available in either Adobe pdf or Microsoft Word format.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond, copyright (c) 2004.

Objective: This course has two objectives: the first is to analyze the theoretical underpinnings of the economics of the environment and natural resources, and second to allow students to undertake applied economics in this field. This course is designed to enhance many of the learning objectives of the economics program including: critical thinking, problem solving and quantitative skills, communication, research and technology skills

Course Requirements:

1. Exams 40 percent: Students are required to take no more than two examinations (including the final).  The exams will assess understanding of microeconomic principles of environmental issues. Exams will constitute 40 percent of each students grade.

2. Class projects, discussion and group participation 20 percent:  Students will participate in group activities and projects. Efficacy and level of participation in all group activities will be evaluated by the groups and by the instructor. 

3. Final Report 40 percent.  Each student will write a final report on an environmental topic. The report will be submitted in  three installments:

·         Background information regarding the specific environmental problem to be investigated, (10 percent)

·         Description of Remedies (actual and potential) (10 percent)

·         Analysis and conclusion . (10 percent)  This may be the hardest part.

·         Presentation (10 percent)

Attendance: Students are responsible for all material covered during class. If a class is missed, the material should be obtained from another student.  In the event that a class is canceled by the instructor, you will be notified by a note posted on the classroom door and signed by the department chair. If there is any uncertainty, check with the department secretary in room 309. 

Accommodations: We at West Chester University wish to make accommodations for persons with disabilities. Please make your needs known by contacting me and/or the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at ext. 3217. Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible. The University desires to comply with the ADA of 1990.

Academic Dishonesty:  The business faculty is committed to vigorously enforcing the University’s academic dishonesty policy.  At a minimum, students will receive a 0 in an assignment; at the maximum, students may be dismissed from the University. Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are defined in the Undergraduate Catalog.  With respect to term papers, projects, and other written work, students must use quotation marks and reference when using another author’s exact words.  Students must also reference when paraphrasing an idea or the words of an author.   If more than one student submits substantially similar written homework that homework will be graded as if it were submitted by a single student, and all students submitting that homework will receive an equal share of the grade.

Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action Policy: West Chester University is committed to providing leadership in extending equal opportunities to all individuals. Accordingly, the University will continue to make every effort to provide these rights to all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. This policy applies to all members of the University community, including students, staff, and administrators. It also applies to all applicants for admission or employment and all participants in University-sponsored activities.  Any individual having suggestions, problems, complaints or grievances with regard to equal opportunity or affirmative action is encouraged to contact the Director of Social Equity.

Course Outline:




Assignments/ exercises

Review Principles of Microeconomics.  In this section we will review fundamental  microeconomic concepts and how markets function


Bouman Units 1,2, 4, 5, 6 and 11

Collapse Chapter 1

Production Possibilities, Supply and Demand, Production and Cost, Perfectly competitive markets, International Trade.


Efficiency and fairness

Marginal analysis

Marginal benefit marginal cost, efficiency

Double oral auction

Common Market Failures

Market failures and efficincy in the principles course

Externalities, public goods, and property rights

Paper river exercise

Environmental Economics

A brief Introduction to EE



Where Markets exist, but fail. (Externalities)

Depletable non-renewable resources: oil, coal, ..

The market for oil

Student presentations


Renewable resources: trees, fish, …

Reading TBA

Student presentations

Renewable resource classroom experiment

Point Source Pollution of Air and water


Student presentations

Tradable pollution credit experiment

Non-point source pollution, runoff, automobiles

Enforceable State Mechanisms for the Control of Nonpoint Source Water Pollution


Student presentations


Where Markets Fail to Exist (Public Goods)

Pure Public Goods: Endangered Species, Biodiversity,


Student presentations


Big picture

Tragedy of the commons
Thomas Malthus Essay on population

Discussion Questions








 Environmental Literacy Council