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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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EEC 432 – Environmental Economics and Policy
Course Information

Professor: Dr. Hirotsugu Uchida
Semester: Spring
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: EEC 205

Catalog Description: Economic analysis of policies that address environmental and natural resource problems. Topics include pollution control policies, economic incentives, and the optimal use of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources

Course Goals & Outcomes

This course will introduce how economists view, think, and analyze natural resource management, including sustainable extraction and conservation, and environmental issues such as pollution and climate change. Almost every aspect of human activities—from housing, eating, commuting, working, and leisure—involves impacts on nature and natural resources. The quest to find the balance between “acceptable” living standards and sustainable resource use and conservation has never been greater. However, this is easier said than done (if it was not, then the problems would have been solved by now). We need to understand why people behave the way they do, and only from that insight we can determine what can be done to alter people’s current behavior. In another word, we need economic analysis of the problem.

This is the most advanced course on undergraduate environmental and natural resource economics, and it is also the cap-stone course for EEC majors. As such, the materials presented will be rigorous in economic concepts and basic-level calculus will be involved.

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

  • Analyze sustainable extraction and conservation of natural resources
  • Conduct economic analysis of policy issues of energy, climate change and other natural resource use
  • Identify economic trade-offs with regard to environmental and natural resource issues
Course Syllabus

Class topics:

  • Introduction and warm-up
    • Class overview
    • Basic calculus
    • Optimization using Lagrangian method
    • Public goods and externality
    • Discounting
  • Managing Common Pool Resources: Sector Allocation in Fishery
    • Why common pool resources (CPRs) are vulnerable to overexploitation?
    • The state of world and US fisheries
    • Optimal management: MSY, MEY, static and dynamic
    • Privatization: economists’ view of the solution
    • Do consumers have any role?
    • Potential and issue of “sector allocation”
  • Fair Externality? Global Climate Change and Economic Development
    • Why do we tend to over-pollute?
    • Taxonomy of pollution: point- and nonpoint-source
    • Optimal level of pollution: MDC and MAC
    • Quantity or Price? Pigouvian tax and permit trading
    • Kuznets Curve: pollution by developing countries
    • Global dimming: hidden side of global climate change?
  • Energy: Technology, Individual Behavior, and Everything in Between
    • Optimal way to consume oil? The economics of non-renewable resources
    • Back-stop price and technological change
    • Alternative energy: nuclear, wind, solar, footsteps?
    • Ultimate challenge: changing people’s behavior
About The Professor

Dr. Hirotsugu Uchida
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
212 Kingston Coastal Institute
Office: 401.874.2238
Fax: 401.782.4766

Dr. Uchida is an environmental economist who specializes in natural resource economics. His current research interests are:

  • fisheries management;
  • seafood markets and ecolabel; and
  • sustainable use of ecosystem services and economic development.
Reasons To Take This Course

This course will provide you with the opportunity to acquire the competencies required to analyze hot policy debates in current environmental issues.

Cool Links
  • Eco RI News - This is a nonprofit Web-based news agency that provides information about environmental issues, their consequences, and potential solutions.
  • World Bank: World Development Report and Climate Change - The World Bank is an international organization made up of two development institutions, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), owned by 187 member countries with the stated goal of “…advancing the vision of inclusive and sustainable globalization.” Their Website offers a comprehensive report on world development and its relation to climate change.
  • Dimming the Sun This is a media production credited to the filmmaker David Sington that investigates the evidence for a phenomenon called “global dimming” and its implications for the climate change.