Information regarding our 2022/23 admissions cycle

Our updated course listings for the 2022/23 postgraduate admissions cycle will be published at the beginning of October. Applications for 2022 entry will be available shortly after this. Check our how to apply pages for updates.

MA Economics

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Economics of Environmental Policy

Unit code ECON60782
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


To develop students’ intellectual understanding of the economics of public policy issues regarding the protection of the environment.

Students will investigate both conceptual and methodological topics in environmental economics, and consider recent applications in numerous case studies.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students should be able to understand and discuss:

  1. theory on the economic significance and causes of environmental degradation, including the consideration of market failure, regulatory failure and organisational failures;
  2. alternative approaches to pollution management, including first-best and second-best solutions and the selection of policy instruments;
  3. complications for the selection of environmental policy instruments including: dynamic analysis; imperfect information (uncertainty and non-point sources of pollution); sub-optimal firm behaviour; and non-uniformity of pollutants;
  4. analytical methods (including cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis) to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of alternative environmental policy approaches both ex ante and ex post.
  5. international environmental issues: transboundary pollution, pollution havens, trade and the environment, environmental Kuznets curve



























Topic 0: Introduction and coursework guidance

Topic 1: Causes of environmental problems: market failure, regulatory behaviour, and behavioural failure 

Topic 2: Designing environmental policy: first best and second best solution to environmental problems, and the selection of policy instruments

Topic 3: Complications from uncertainty, non-point sources of pollution, and non-uniformity of pollutants

Topic 4: Cost benefit analysis and alternative criteria

Topic 5: international environmental issues: pollution havens, free trade and the environment, and trans-boundary pollution


Teaching and learning methods


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Recommended reading

Recommended textbooks

 Callan, Scott J. and Janet M. Thomas (2013), Environmental Economics and Management: Theory, Policy, and Applications (6th Edition), South-Western, International Edition.

Keohane, Nathaniel O. and Sheila M. Olmsted (2016) Markets and the Environment, Washington etc.: Island   Press


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 132

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Grada Wossink Unit coordinator

Additional notes

To take this module you need a background in undergraduate micro economics.

Lecturer: Professor Grada Wossink

Lecture: Wednesday 4pm-6pm,

Return to course details