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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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EEC 310 - Economics for Environmental Resource Management and Policy
Course Information

Professor: Dr. Simona Trandafir
Semester: Fall
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: EEC 205

Catalog Description: Economic approaches to natural resource use and environmental policies. Exploring measures of the “economic value of environment.” How scientists, managers, and markets can affect the environmental quality of life.

Course Goals & Outcomes

How do natural resources and their users interact to affect the environmental quality and allocation decisions? What does” economic value of the environment” really mean? How can regulations and markets help protect the environment and our quality of life? In this course you will get answers to these questions and learn how to use microeconomic tools to assess a wide variety of major environmental and natural resource issues facing today’s society. Climate change, congestion, air pollution, oil spills, non-renewable energy source dependency and development/preservation of natural environments are some of the topics studied in this class. The economic implications of these issues and the policies designed to address them and their consequences for the society as a whole is of great importance in determining the right course for a sustainable economy. Furthermore, methods for comparing alternative potential solutions to environmental issues, such as benefit-cost, cost-effectiveness, and risk analyses will also be explained. The primary objectives for this course are to provide an introductory perspective on where economics fits into the analysis of environmental resource use and to develop your skills to use economic concepts in your own evaluation of public debates.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • Identify the economic implications of environmental and resource use issues
  • Distinguish the most advantageous among potential courses of action in addressing environmental and resource use problems
  • Asses the desirability of environmental policies targeted at particular environmental issues
  • Identify appropriate comparative methods for choosing among alternative environmental projects
  • Identify ethical considerations involving environmental policies and issues
  • Provide economic insight to the conflicts over environmental resources
Course Syllabus

Class topics:

  • Modeling environmental problems
    • How we use economics to manage our environment and our resources
    • Understanding the essential components of market activity and its link to environmental problems
    • Markets may be the most democratic institutions but that does not prevent them from failing
  • Modeling solutions to environmental problems
    • Environmental policies: some solutions are better than other but none is perfect
  • Analytical tools for environmental planning
    • What are the benefits and costs environmental actions?
    • Risk analysis
  • Air
    • How is the quality of air decided?
    • How is it improved?
    • Let’s take it global
  • Water
    • How is the quality of water decided?
    • How is it improved?
    • How do we make sure it is safe to drink it?
  • Solid Wastes and toxic substances
    • Managing the dangerous ones
    • Pesticides and toxic chemicals
About The Professor

Dr. Simona Trandafir
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
211 Kingston Coastal Institute
Office: 401-874-2471
Office: 401-872-4766

Dr. Trandafir is an environmental economist who specializes in transportation economics. Her current research interests are:

  • container port competition;
  • highway externalities and congestion pricing; and
  • climate change.
Reasons To Take This Course

Do you have questions about climate change, congestion, air pollution, or oil spills? Take this course if you want to become more knowledgeable about these hot environmental issues you have become accustomed to hearing about daily, from all sorts of sources. This course will enrich your view of the environment around us and provide you with a clearer picture of how we use it, and potentially abuse it, every day and how it is irrevocably linked to our economy.

This course is a requirement for environmental and natural resource economics majors and a prerequisite for several other upper level courses.

Cool Links
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) - The U.S. EPA is a governmental organization responsible for the implementation and enforcement of rules and regulations targeted at protecting the health and environment of our nation. You can read more about several interesting topics covered in this course on the EPA’s Website.
  • Climate Change - Check out the U.S. EPA Learn the Issues: Climate Change Website that has cool up-to-date topics on climate change.
  • Fuel Efficiency - A hot topic in the local and global air pollution debate is fuel economy and environment labels. The joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation has resulted in improved fuel efficiency standards (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emission standards.
  • Oil Spills - U.S. EPA Response to BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico - the emergency response had ended but this page provides reliable information about this historical oil spill
  • Fisheries - As part of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for the sustainable and equitable use of Rhode Island’s fish and wildlife resources.
  • Environment Rhode Island is an environmental advocacy organization, a subsidiary of Environment America, dedicated to protecting Rhode Island’s environment by tackling emerging issues like climate change, clean energy, open spaces, and Narragansett Bay pollution.