ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS AND POLICY
The learning objectives of the course are twofold. The first is to provide students with the basic theoretical elements to deal with the study of environmental issues and policies undertaken by international, community and national institutions for the control of externalities and the achievement of sustainability goals. The second is to introduce students to the strategic analysis approach applied to interactions between States to protect their environmental resources (international protocols on climate and environment). Strategic analysis applications are illustrated through the use of experimental results and case studies.
For an adequate understanding of the course contents, it is necessary to have acquired and assimilated the fundamental concepts of microeconomics and macroeconomics.
The course is divided into 4 modules, the first three consisting of 16 hours each, the fourth consisting of 24 hours. In the first module (Economy, environment and development) the possible interactions between the economic system and the environment are examined, focusing attention on the traditional theoretical model and the material balance model in order to highlight the relationship between environmental aspects and economic activities. Development sustainability is addressed through the analysis of the main theoretical approaches, indicators for measurement and operational principles. In the second module (Economic value and management of natural resources) natural resources are analysed with respect to the problems of economic evaluation and management. The main methods used in the empirical analysis to attribute an economic value to environmental resources, direct methods (expressed preferences) and indirect methods (revealed preferences) are illustrated. The problems relating to the optimal allocation of natural resources are addressed with reference to the causes that determine the market failure, externalities and characteristics of public goods and free access resources that connote environmental resources. In the third module (the control of externalities: the policies) the strategies undertaken by the public operator to address the problems of inefficiency in the management of environmental resources are analysed. The main public intervention tools are considered: Command and control tools (standards and technical regulations), economic incentive tools (taxes and subsidies, negotiable allowances). The approach based on negotiation between the parties is also analysed. In the fourth module (Strategic contexts and environment) strategic schemes are addressed in order to analyse cooperation between States to protect their environmental resources, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions or biodiversity. Specifically, the tools aimed to define the strategies and possible solutions of the game are examined. The problem of coordination between multiple players (States) is then introduced. Finally, some alternative schemes are analysed to facilitate cooperation between States, in particular applied to the case of global warming.
Interactions between the economic system and the environment.
Economic value and management of natural resources.
The control of externalities: the policies.
Strategic contexts and environment.
The course is carried out through lectures during which the topics of the program will be analysed. Seminar discussions are scheduled by the students on possible application cases.
Aprile M.C., Chiarini B. (2019) Economia dell’Ambiente. Sostenibilità, politiche e aspetti strategici. Mondadori Università.
The objective of the exam is to evaluate the level of achievement of the learning objectives. The exam includes a structured written test with open questions aimed at assessing the degree of depth of general theoretical knowledge. Students will have to answer questions demonstrating the ability to expose the technical contents, definitions, and basic notions acquired through their study with appropriate terminology. The written test consists of 6 questions. Each question is assigned a maximum of 5 points for a total of 30 points. Extra points above 30 indicate the possibility of praise, which will be assigned to the student capable of showing a capacity for critical reworking of the knowledge acquired, and for having proceeded with an in-depth analysis of the issues dealt with outside the reference texts. The duration of the written test is fixed in 100 minutes. There is also an opportunity for an oral exam, which can be mandatory, that is, required by the teacher for cases of written tests with a result that is sufficient for the limit (between 15/30 and 17/30).
Knowledge and understanding: the student has to demonstrate his/her ability to understand the problems related to the use and management of environmental resources; he/she has to show his/her knowledge of the main policy tools used by political institutions at different levels of government (international, community and national) to ensure sustainable use of the stock of environmental resources, and the strategic analysis tools aimed to interpret cooperation between States (governments) to resolve issues relating to the management of global public goods.
Skills about knowledge and understanding: the student has to demonstrate that he/she has acquired the knowledge of the theoretical foundations of the economic approach to environmental problems and be able to combine them with operational skills, both in the interpretation of specific environmental policy interventions by the appointed institutions and in understanding of the tools and strategies for resource management implemented internationally and nationally.
Making judgements: the student has to show his/her skills to provide an independent assessment of environmental problems and to suggest the main policy strategies to drive the markets towards the optimal allocation of environmental resources between the different destination uses; he/she has to show his/her skills to interpret the behaviours of the various agents that contribute strategically to defining global environmental problems, and to have developed ability to discuss critically on environmental issues in open debates.
Communication skills: the student has to be able to correctly use economic terminology to dissert on the topics of the written test questions scheduled for the final exam, as well as to present the seminar discussions that will take place during the lessons. The language used will alternate the technical approach with the more merely common one also through simplifications deriving from the demonstration of practical cases.
Learning skills: the student has to be able to achieve updates through the consultation of scientific texts and publications about issues related to the management of environmental resources in the economic system, applicable to subsequent investigations below of the university training course.