Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

751-1551-00L  Ressourcen- und Umweltökonomie

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersL. Bretschger, A. Müller
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionGerman


AbstractRelationship between economy and environment, market failure, external effects and public goods, contingent valuation, internalisation of externalities; economics of non-renewable resources, economics of renewable resources, cost-benefit analysis, sustainability, and international aspects of resource and environmental economics.
ObjectiveUnderstanding of the basic issues and methods in resource and environmental economics; ability to solve typical problems in the field using the appropriate tools, which are concise verbal explanations, diagrams or mathematical expressions.

Topics are:
Introduction to resource and environmental economics
Importance of resource and environmental economics
Main issues of resource and environmental economics
Normative basis
Utilitarianism
Fairness according to Rawls
Economic growth and environment
Externalities in the environmental sphere
Governmental internalisation of externalities
Private internalisation of externalities: the Coase theorem
Free rider problem and public goods
Types of public policy
Efficient level of pollution
Tax vs. permits
Command and Control Instruments
Empirical data on non-renewable natural resources
Optimal price development: the Hotelling-rule
Effects of exploration and Backstop-technology
Effects of different types of markets.
Biological growth function
Optimal depletion of renewable resources
Social inefficiency as result of over-use of open-access resources
Cost-benefit analysis and the environment
Measuring environmental benefit
Measuring costs
Concept of sustainability
Technological feasibility
Conflicts sustainability / optimality
Indicators of sustainability
Problem of climate change
Cost and benefit of climate change
Climate change as international ecological externality
International climate policy: Kyoto protocol
Implementation of the Kyoto protocol in Switzerland
ContentEconomy and natural environment, welfare concepts and market failure, external effects and public goods, measuring externalities and contingent valuation, internalising external effects and environmental policy, economics of non-renewable resources, renewable resources, cost-benefit-analysis, sustainability issues, international aspects of resource and environmental problems, selected examples and case studies.
Lecture notesThe script and lecture material are provided at:
https://moodle-app2.let.ethz.ch/course/view.php?id=140
LiteraturePerman, R., Ma, Y., McGilvray, J, Common, M.: "Natural Resource & Environmental Economics", 3d edition, Longman, Essex 2003.