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Fall 2010 - 61195 - PA393L - Advanced Policy Economics

Environmental Economics

Instructor(s): Gamkhar, Shama
Unique Number: 61195
Day & Time: M 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.355
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Students are required to take an additional three-hour course in policy economics, selected from among a set of courses focusing on the application of economic theory and techniques to a specific area of public policy. Course options include macroeconomics, public finance, regulation, international trade and finance, natural resources and environmental policy, health policy, transportation policy, human resource development, urban and regional economic development, international development, education policy, social policy, and labor economics. Not all options are offered every year. This course is usually taken in the second year. 

Section Description

This course seeks to develop student capabilities for analysis and decision-making in the area of environmental economic policy. The course will also provide international perspectives on climate change policies in the US, Europe and in South Asia. The focus in this course will be on air quality at the local, regional and global levels. The course format will primarily be a combination of lectures, discussions, case studies, research papers and some problem sets. Students are expected to have a good understanding of microeconomics.

The first half of the course will cover the economic theories of externalities, public goods and taxation that are relevant for the design of environmental policy. In this context we will examine the effectiveness of various regulatory instruments (command and control methods, marketable emission permits, environmental taxes and subsidies) in realizing the goals of environmental policy. Additionally, we will briefly examine techniques for measuring costs and benefits of environmental improvement. Throughout this section of the course students will be guided and encouraged to debate the application of theory to real world policy.

In the second half of the course we will discuss the design and implementation of environmental policies that use economic incentive mechanisms (such as fees, taxes and emission trading programs). The scope of the regulation includes various local initiatives-domestic (U.S.) and international, regulation of acid rain in the US and Canada, global tax on ozone depleting substances, European Union and other emission trading programs for green house gases. Related issues of environmental policy may be added on the basis of student interests.