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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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EEC 345 – Sustainable Development, Trade and the Environment
Course Information

Professor: Dr. Emi Uchida
Semester: Fall (every other year)
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: EEC 105 or ECN 201

Catalog Description: To understand the relationship between economic development, international trade, and the environment. Topics include sustainable development, trade policies and the environment, climate change and development, and institutions for managing the commons.

Course Goals & Outcomes

The overall goal of this course is to explore solutions for pathways towards “sustainable development.” The course begins with descriptions of new theories about the drivers of economic growth and poverty. We will then examine the relationship between poverty and the environment, and how trade policies can affect both economic growth and the environment. In the second part of the course, we focus on people and explore the incentives and the tradeoffs that the people in poverty face in managing natural resources. We will examine why conservation programs often do not work as intended and how economic and social institutions can be designed to improve living standards while also sustain natural resources.

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

  • Gain experience in analyzing and finding solutions for pressing, real-world environment and poverty issues;
  • Understand public policy debates on ways to improve living standards while managing the environment;
  • Explain observed patterns of development and environment in the world;
  • Identify new active areas of research in the nexus of development and environmental economics;
  • Learn how to present complex issues effectively in public, including the use of data.
Course Syllabus

Class topics:

  • What is Sustainable Development?
  • Pre-Modern & Modern Growth: How Did We Get Here?
  • Modern Growth and Sustainable Development: The Origins and Theories
  • Economic Growth and the Environment: The Macro Perspective
  • Trade/Globalization and Their Impact on the Environment
  • Institutions, Contracts, and Market Failure—Theoretical Framework
  • Institutions and Contracts – Solutions Towards Sustainable Development
    • Microfinance Institutions
    • Networks and Associations for Rural Enterprise
    • Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change
    • Markets for Ecosystem Services: Incentive Mechanisms to Manage the Environment
  • Property Rights
    • Protected Area and Poverty
    • Common Property Resources and Determinants of Cooperation
    • Defining Individual Property Rights to Manage Natural Resources: The Devolution Trend
About The Professor

Dr. Emi Uchida
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
University of Rhode Island
Tel: 401-874-4586

Dr. Uchida is an environmental economist who specializes in the economics of poverty and natural resource management. Her current research interests are in:

  • examining effectiveness of policies in alleviating poverty and sustaining natural resources;
  • measuring the tradeoffs among multiple ecosystem services from agriculture, forests, and coastal ecosystems; and
  • valuation of ecosystem services and market approaches to provision of ecosystem services.

She conducts her research in Asia, Africa, and the U.S. and utilizes household surveys, field experiments, spatial data, econometric, and numerical methods.

Reasons To Take This Course

The world has become much richer in the past century as many countries have achieved unprecedented rates of economic growth. Part of this growth has been due to globalization, as demonstrated by increasing trade. However, with economic growth and globalization, we also are challenged with degradation of natural resources and the environment. In addition, there remain many poor countries and, even in richer countries, many poor people. Evidence has shown that the poor people disproportionately rely on natural resources for their livelihood. What are the linkages between environment and poverty? Is degrading environment inevitably a consequence of economic growth? How do policies for economic growth, including trade policies, affect the environment? Are there ways to achieve “sustainable development”? Why is it that even when solutions are available the rural poor do not adopt them? What are some innovative solutions that would give the “right incentives” to achieve both economic development and environmental goals?

Cool Links
  • Environment for Development“The overall objective of the EfD initiative is to support poverty alleviation and sustainable development through the increased use of environmental economics in the policy making process. The EfD initiative is a capacity building program in environmental economics, focusing on research, policy advice, and teaching in Central America, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania.”
  • Global Environment Facility“The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues.”
  • Community Markets for Conservation“Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) is a limited-by-guarantee, non-profit company called COMACO Ltd. Stewarded by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in close consultation with Community Resources Boards of Luangwa Valley, Producer Group Cooperatives, District Council authorities, and key Government institutions, such as Zambia Wildlife Authority and Ministries of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Local Government, it uses a business approach that finds economic solutions to end poverty among rural small-scale farmers and encourages improved farming technologies to help end hunger.”