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Environmental economics

academic year

Course teacher(s)

Estelle CANTILLON (Coordinator)

ECTS credits


Language(s) of instruction


Course content

Environmental economics is the field of economics that studies the interactions between economic activities and the environment (i.e. both the impact of economic activities on the environment, and the impact of the environment on economic activities) and the ways to regulate or organize economic activities to achieve an appropriate balance between environmental, economic and other social goals.

This course provides an introduction to the key concepts, tools and methods of environmental economics, as well as to several environmental policy applications. You will have to learn the foundations that cut across environmental issues but you will also be exposed to some in-depth assessments of specific sectors where governments have to deal with complex decisions to address the market failures at the origin of environmental concerns.

While the course emphasizes public interventions (as is traditional in environmental economics), it also discusses the potential contributions of the private sector and individuals. The course is targeted to MA students. Additional assignments are foreseen for research master and doctoral students.

Objectives (and/or specific learning outcomes)

Many policy discussions about the environment are plagued by conceptual shortcuts or lack of data or appropriate data analysis. The course will help you master the tools and methods that are relevant for solving market failures in environmental contexts and apply them to provide rigorous foundations to ground your views on current environmental issues. Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

  1. explain the economic rationale for public intervention in current environmental issues,

  2. describe the set of policy options and discuss the likely impact of these policies and other considerations that need to be taken into account when choosing an option,

  3. identify the relevant (existing or to-be-collected) data and methods of analysis of these data to provide rigorous foundations for your recommendations and assess the quality of existing ex-ante and ex-post policy assessment analyses,

  4. discuss the potential for the private sector and individuals involvement in solving environmental problems.

Teaching methods and learning activities

12 Lectures + 4 exercise sessions. Students are made to apply the concepts seen in class through almost homeworks and group take-home assignments. Active participation is class is strongly encouraged.

References, bibliography, and recommended reading

See course platform

Other information


Prof. Estelle Cantillon (Estelle.Cantillon@ulb.ac.be)


Method(s) of evaluation

  • Other

The assessment is based on a final exam (65%), group assignments (25%), homeworks and participation (10%)

Mark calculation method (including weighting of intermediary marks)

The assessment is based on a final exam (65%), group assignments (25%), homeworks and participation (10%)

Language(s) of evaluation

  • english