ECON 386
Environmental and Natural Resource Policy Spring 2016 Division II; Quantative/Formal Reasoning; Cross-listed as ENVI386 / ECON518 / ECON386
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Economic activity often damages the environment significantly, especially in developing countries. Firms may clear-cut valuable forests, while consumers may drive high-pollution vehicles with little thought for the environmental consequences. Economists have proposed a variety of policy remedies, from pollution taxes to tradable permit schemes and restrictions on the quantity of pollution. This course first examines the relative merits of these policies from a theoretical perspective. When pollution damage is uncertain, is it better to use a pollution tax or a quantity restriction? Is it worse to set a pollution tax too high than to set it too low? It then proceeds to the practical issues that attend policy implementation, particularly where state capacity is limited. What is the best policy when inspectors can be threatened or bribed? When resource extraction is hard to monitor? Case studies will likely include policies aimed at deforestation, mineral ownership and extraction, particulate air pollution from industry and transportation, and carbon emissions from electricity generation. In evaluating policies we will think about both efficiency and the distribution of costs and benefits. (What if environmental regulation only benefits the wealthiest people in a country?) We will also examine the environmental consequences of policies aimed at other problems, like poverty and low education.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 3491
Requirements/Evaluation: problem sets, paper, brief presentation, a midterm, and a final exam
Prerequisites: ECON 251, familiarity with statistics
Enrollment Preference: senior Economic majors and CDE fellows
Department Notes: this course satisfies the Environmental Policy requirement for the Environmental Policy major and the Environmental studies concentration
Distributions: Division II; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;
Attributes: ENVI Environmental Policy; ENVP PTL Theory/Method Courses; ENVP PE-A Group Electives; ENVP PTL-A Group Electives; ENVP SC-A Group Electives; MAST Interdepartmental Electives; POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses;

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