Scheda insegnamento

Anno Accademico 2022/2023

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

Humans have become a force of nature reshaping environmental processes on a planetary scale. This course identifies and describes some ecological issues that poses a challenge for sustainability. It studies their interconnection with economic and political processes. The program builds around three topics: local and global commons, biodiversity, and climate change. The course objective is to provide the tools to understand some ecological challenges at the global level regarding the economy and politics of this generation. Other relevant environmental issues are excluded from the course, such as energy topics, methods for cost-benefit assessments, pollution from toxic chemicals.


The course objective is to provide tools for understanding the economics of environmental problems at the national and global levels. It studies the interconnections of environmental and ecological issues with economic and political processes.

Lectures will be organized around the following topics:

  • Environmental problems and the 'Anthropocene'
  • The science of climate change
  • Social and economic impacts of climate change
  • Mitigation as a social dilemma
  • Ecological transition using carbon prices
  • Economic models of climate change and cost-benefit analysis
  • Mitigation as risk management
  • Inequality in climate responsibilities and impacts
  • The political economy of climate policies
  • Adaptation and geoengineering
  • The use of non-renewable resources
  • The use of renewable resources
  • Land-use change
  • Biodiversity and ecological impacts
  • Air pollution and health
  • Ecological transition as a system transition


Lectures and readings will be in English. There is no single textbook, but the following two title may be useful:

  • Perman et al. (2013): Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, 4th edition
  • Phaneuf and Requate (2017): A course in environmental economics : theory, policy, and practice

Both titles are written from an economic perspective and involve some mathematical modelling. A good introduction to climate change is given in Nordhaus (2013) The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World, Yale University Press.

Other readings will be made available on Virtuale: some are required while others only recommended. The site will be updated continuously and it is recommended to check weekly.

Metodi didattici

Lectures with slides presentation.

In-class activities.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

This is an intermediate-level economics class. The class will require a considerable effort, especially if you aim at a good grade. The assessment will be about your level of understanding and your ability to work with the concepts. Memory is a pre-requisite to a successful exam, but the ability to repeat concepts will not be the crucial element.

Evaluation will be by written exam and/or an essay / presentation.

Examinations. The written examinations will comprise of 3-6 questions. Answers are short essays that focus on defining concepts, illustrating theories, reporting empirical evidence, providing interpretations, and/or solving numerical exercises. The focus will be on the material in the required readings and the slides.

Grade. The final grade will be on the following scale:

<18 failed
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 e lode excellent

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

The teaching will be by lectures.

Interaction during lectures is highly encouraged and students will be prompted to participate in the discussion. The teaching methods involve some element of 'flipped learning', in which the students are requested to study some text / video material prior to the lecture and are expected to be able to discuss the content during the lecture itself.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Niko Samuli Jaakkola