Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Environment and Economy
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Tutorial 4 x 1 Hour Tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  60%
Semester Assessment 2,000 word essay  40%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  Repeat failed element  60%
Supplementary Assessment 2,000 word essay  Repeat failed element  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Critically discuss the causes of market failure relating to environmental issues;

* Critically discuss and evaluate economic models relating to optimal environmental standards;

* Evaluate the effectiveness of a range of policy instruments for the environment;

* Critically discuss and evaluate methodologies for environmental valuation;

* Critically evaluate the application of economic principles to contemporary environmental policy issues.


This module will consider the economic principles that underlie government and corporate intervention in environmental, agricultural, rural and regional policy. The development of an understanding of the fundamental economic relationships will enable opportunities and problems for rural areas to be discussed and appropriate policy responses to be identified.

Brief description

This module provides an analysis of how economic theory may be used by governments, NGOs and the business sector to help protect and enhance our natural environment.

Basic concepts in economic theory are introduced, so that understanding is developed of how markets are supposed to achieve economically efficient allocations and why, when they fail to do so, environmental degradation often results. The module then explores how governments, NGOs and businesses might intervene to address environmental issues, and evaluates the effectiveness of a range of policy instruments including command-and-control instruments and incentive-based instruments. The module also explores why economists attach importance to the monetary valuation of environmental goods and services, and provides a critique of techniques for doing so. Finally, we explore how such values might be incorporated into the design and evaluation of environmental policies.

The above theories are then demonstrated in practice with detailed assessment of a series of contemporary environmental policy case studies, including agri-environmental policies, biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate change (carbon trading), sustainable business management and `Green? GDP.


  • Economic growth and resource use
  • Economic paradigms: Neo-classical economics, environmental economics, ecological economics, deep ecology.
  • Scarcity, choice and economics systems
  • How markets work: demand and supply
  • Market failure
  • Policy instruments for the environment
  • Valuation of the environment
  • Policy appraisal and evaluation
  • Case studies: agri-environmental policies, biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate change (carbon trading), sustainable business management and `Green? GDP.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Some economic principles require numerical skills.
Communication Students will be required to write using appropriate economic terms and to communicate their understanding of economic concepts as they apply to rural issues.
Improving own Learning and Performance Lectures and application of the theory and research.
Problem solving Students will be required to apply economic principles to solve economic problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake self-study research for the essay.
Subject Specific Skills Economic principles applied to a rural context.


This module is at CQFW Level 6