Resource Economics and Policy

CMM05B Core Course 6 ECTS
Period -
Instructor David Cook


Various incentives, policies and management initiatives are used to influence human behaviour and to promote sustainable development.

This course gives an overview of environmental and resource management and public policy tools and instruments - in the context of management of coastal and marine environments and sustainable development (SD). It introduces elements of standard economic analysis (neo-classical economics) as well as other approaches, such as ecological economics. It focuses on how to manage for healthy ecosystems and a healthy economy, and aims at providing students with the necessary tools to assess objectives and to make choices when it comes to environmental and resource management in coastal and marine regions.

The course is broken into three modules:

In the first module we look at neo-classical economics. We discuss economics tools of environmental analysis and valuation both within markets and when markets are absent. Special emphasis will be given to implementation of these tools in practical instances of decision-making concerning use or conservation of the coastal and marine resources.

In the second module we focus on relevant, international instruments (conventions, declarations etc.) of environmental governance. We assess the concept of SD from economic, social and environmental perspectives. We compare the concepts of economic growth and SD and ask if the two are compatible. Action plans such as the Rio, Johannesburg, Agenda 21, and initiatives such as the Environmental Kuznets Curve, the Resource curse, the Porter hypothesis, and Sustainability indicators at micro and macro levels will be covered. 

In the third module we examine the ideological foundations of environmental and natural resource policies, and assess various policy tools and instruments used in coastal and ocean situations. The main focus will be on instruments, policies and management approaches in selected case studies.


At the end of the course, students will:

  • have gained a systematic understanding of the role of policy in the sustainable management of coastal and marine areas
  • be able to discuss and apply theories of environmental economics and various policy instruments
  • be able to determine which research methods in the field of economics are suitable for a given research question dealing with economic aspects of coastal or marine areas
  • be able to develop/plan, draft, revise and complete a research writing project
  • be able to propose a realistic, detailed policy recommendation by using the course concepts
  • be able to share this work effectively in a short presentation.