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Environmental Economics and Natural Resources

Code: 102840 ECTS Credits: 9
Degree Type Year Semester
2501915 Environmental Sciences OB 2 2


Jesús Ramos Martin

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

Other comments on languages

The second part, by Jesús Ramos, will be taught in Spanish


It is recommended to have studied the subject Human Uses of the Earth System of the 1st year.




Objectives and Contextualisation

The subject Environmental and Natural Resources Economy (EARN) belongs to the subject "Economics for the environmental sciences" of the Degree in Environmental Sciences 
taught by the Faculty of Sciences. This subject concentrates all the subjects of economics, that are distributed by professors of the Faculty of Economy and Company.
EARN contributes essentially to the process of learning and learning of the 2nd Course because it introduces concepts and tools of the economy that are shown basic to better 
understand the relationship between human and natural systems. In particular, we explore the biophysical analysis of the economic process, in what use humans use
the different resources and services that the Earth system offers us.
In addition, it participates in the professional training of the students given that it fosters learning in a series of general competences (among them, the ability to reason 
critically and improve self-employment strategies), transversal (for example, to know how to select and generate the information necessary to understand the economic
dynamics of the present and its relation with the environment and the use of natural resources) and specific (to distinguish the biophysical aspects of human activity and
to identify and analyze the impacts environmental aspects of economic activity) that will be very useful for future professionals in the analysis, conservation and
management of the environment and natural resources.
Training objectives
The objective of the subject is double, on the one hand, to understand the basic concepts of the economy that should allow us to understand human systems as systems 
open to the entry of energy and materials, and to the waste exit. That is, we study the biophysical functioning of economies, what is knownas"social metabolism"
and the role that naturalresources play in maintaining the economic system.
At the end of the course the student will have a clearer idea of:
i) The basic concepts of the economy and its use in environmental sciences;
ii) The basic literature of the methods and concepts presented;
iii) The relationship between the economic process of human systems and the land system, as well as the different approaches used to analyze this interaction.



  • Adequately convey information verbally, written and graphic, including the use of new communication and information technologies.
  • Analyze and use information critically.
  • Collect, analyze and represent data and observations, both qualitative and quantitative, using secure adequate classroom, field and laboratory techniques
  • Demonstrate adequate knowledge and use the tools and concepts of the most relevant social science environment.
  • Demonstrate concern for quality and praxis.
  • Demonstrate initiative and adapt to new situations and problems.
  • Teaming developing personal values regarding social skills and teamwork.
  • Work autonomously

Learning Outcomes

  1. Adequately convey information verbally, written and graphic, including the use of new communication and information technologies.
  2. Analyze and use information critically.
  3. Apply the methods of evaluation.
  4. Apply the methods of integrated assessment of alternatives presented in the course.
  5. Critically analyze basic environmental science literature in Catalan, Castilian and English.
  6. Demonstrate concern for quality and praxis.
  7. Demonstrate initiative and adapt to new situations and problems.
  8. Describe and analyze the process of change in the natural environment.
  9. Distinguish the biophysical aspects (resource use and waste generation) related to the process of economic activity.
  10. Identify environmental and social impacts associated with human activity.
  11. Observe, recognize, analyze, measure and adequately represent economic processes applied to environmental sciences.
  12. Properly use the analytical concepts of environmental science.
  13. Recognizing the effects of human activity on the environment.
  14. Teaming developing personal values regarding social skills and teamwork.
  15. Work autonomously


 1. The economic system and the environment. Economy and ecological economy: conceptual and methodological aspects.

Basic Reading:
  • Common and Stagl - Introduction to the ecological economy. The economy in the environment: A conceptual framework.
  • Krugman, Wells and Olney - What is economics? Habitual actions of daily life. Basic principles.
  • Blanco - The Economy: Concepts and fundamental problems.
  • Samuelson - The fundamentals of the economy.
2. Markets and prices: supply and demand.

Basic Reading:
  • Common and Stagl - Exchange and markets.
  • Krugman, Wells and Olney - Offer and demand. The market strikes back.
  • Samuelson - Basic elements of supply and demand. Applications of supply and demand.
  • White - The Demand, the Offer and the Market.
3. Production and costs.

Basic Reading:
  • Krugman, Wells and Olney - The producer. What is behind the supply curve: productive factors and costs. Perfect competition and the supply curve.
  • Samuelson - Production and organization of business. Cost analysis. Production, cost theory and business decisions.
4. Market structures: competitive markets and non-competitive markets.

Basic Reading:
  • Krugman, Wells and Olney -Markets and efficiency. Market structure: beyond perfect competition. Monopoly. Oligopoly Monopolistic competition and product differentiation.
  • Samuelson - Analysis of perfectly competitive markets. Imperfect competition and monopoly. The oligopoly and monopolistic competition.
5. Fundamentals of public sector intervention.

Basic Reading:
  • Common and Stagl - Limits to the markets.
  • Samuelson - Protection of the environment.
6. Macroeconomics: the economic system from an aggregateperspective.

Basic Reading:
  • Common and Stagl - Economic growth and environment.
  • Krugman, Wells and Olney - Introduction to macroeconomics. Macroeconomics: a global vision. Short-term economic fluctuations. The aggregate supply and demand. Fiscal policy The taxes and the multiplier. Money, Central Banks and monetary policy.
  • Samuelson - General overview of macroeconomics. Economic cycles and aggregate demand theory. Guarantee price stability. The central bank and monetary policy. The process of economic growth. The exchange rates and the international financial system. Macroeconomic policies to promote growth and stability.

7. Macroeconomic accounting and environmental accounts.

Basic Reading:
  • Common and Stagl - Economic accounting.
  • Krugman, Wells and Olney - Evaluate macroeconomics.



1. Ownership and access to natural resources
a. Typology of property rights and their relationship with the management of natural resources
b. Governance of the Commons: Theory and Examples. Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons
c. Processes of access and exclusion to natural resources
d. Examples: global commons (sea and atmosphere), biopiracy, land-grabbing

Basic reading: Martínez Alier and Roca Págs. 431-434.
Additional Reading: Aguilera 1992; GRAIN 2014.

2. Analysis of non-renewable resources
a. Resource base and reserves
b. The Hubbert curve
c. Hotelling's rule: optimal resource extraction path
d. Backstop technologies
e. The rule of El Serafy
f. EROI or energy rate of return on energy investment
g. Nuclear energy, waste, time and discount

Basic Reading: Martínez Alier and Roca Págs. 110-118, 382-417.
Additional Reading: Romero 1997: 77-102; Espinoza et al., 2019.

3. Analysis of renewable resources
a. Sustainable performance. Biological vs economic models
b. Forest economics: technical forestry shift; Faustmann's rule; forest environmental services
c. Fisheries economics: biological model and economic model

Basic Reading: Martínez Alier and Roca Págs. 418-458.
Additional Reading: Romero 1997: 103-159.

4. Instruments of environmental economic policy

a. Externalities
b. Optimal level of contamination
c. Internalization of externalities
d. Pigou and green taxation
e. Coase and the emission rights market
f. Payment for environmental services

Basic Reading: Martínez Alier and Roca Págs. 131-230.
Complementary Reading: Martínez and Kosoy 2007; Puig and Freire 2007; Romero 1997: 29-50.

5. Monetary valuation and the environment
a. Ecological value and economic value
b. Families of economic valuation methods
c. Total economic value
d. Discount rate

Basic Reading: Martínez Alier and Roca Págs. 231-328.
Additional Reading: Agüero et al. 2005; Romero 1997: 51-76.

6. Cost-benefit analysis
a. Economic and political democracy
b. Arrow's impossibility theorem
c. Kaldor-Hicks compensation criterion
d. Relationship between efficiency and equity
e. Risk, uncertainty and irreversibility

Basic Reading: Martínez Alier and Roca Págs. 231-328.
Additional Reading: Munda 1996.

7. Multi-criteria evaluation
a. Methodological foundations (substantive andprocedural rationality, complexity and post-normal science).
b. Structuring of a multi-criteria problem (alternatives and criteria, weighting of the criteria).
c. Main discrete multi-criteria approaches (Utility approach, MAUT; Improvement methods; NAIADE).
d. Examples

Basic Reading: Munda 2004.
Additional Reading: Falconí and Burbano 2004.


1. Master class
The teacher will perform an analytical conceptualization and an updated synthesis of each of the study topics shown in the didactic units. 
The objective of this activity is to facilitate the transmission of knowledge and the motivation for the analysis of the relationship between human activity and the environment,
which are focused in order to promote active and cooperative learning.

2. Practical sessions 

They are structured into three types of activities:
1) exercise and examples on scientific writing
2) research, interpretation and analysis of economic variables and their relation with the environment
3) presentation and discussion of a group essay.

With these activities the students will not only consolidate the knowledge learned in the master classes but will learn to do individual and group research, analyze information, synthesize it, defend it, and discuss it.
3. Field work

Visit to a venue or institution which stands out in terms of integral management of production and/or waste management.

4. Tutorials

The process of learning and acquisition of competences will be supervised by the teacher through individual and / or group tutorials. 
The teacher of the subject will be available to the students to solve the doubts and follow the evolution of the mentioned process of learning and acquisition of
competences of the students.

5. Virtual campus
In face-to-face teaching, the Virtual Campus is a useful tool, so that students have a complementary space where they can access different types of materials 
that the teacher considers essential to advance in the learning process of the subject. To access it you just have to go to the website of the UAB and there you will find the link
(http://www.uab.es/interactiva/default.htm), or be directly on the campus webpage virtual (https://cv2008.uab.cat/).

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Field work 4 0.16 9, 10, 11, 13, 14
Solving problems classes 1st part. Activities, exercises, data information research, debates 9 0.36 5, 2, 3, 4, 7, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 1, 15, 14, 12
Solving problems classes 2nd part. Work development 9 0.36 5, 2, 4, 7, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 1, 15, 14, 12
Teaching master class 45 1.8 5, 3, 9, 10, 13, 12
Type: Supervised      
Teaching laboratory preparation following the professor guide 30 1.2 5, 2, 10
Tutoring 10 0.4
Type: Autonomous      
Bibliography search information 12 0.48 2, 15, 14
Reading and theory study 52 2.08 2, 15
Teaching laboratory preparation 23 0.92 2, 1, 15, 14


The evaluation of the subject will be based on the continuous evaluation of the process of acquisition of knowledge and skills by the students.

The evaluation of the first part is as follows:

  •     Group work on a topic related to the economics of climate change, which includes an oral presentation, which will score 25% on the final grade for the first part.
  •     A test that may combine multiple-choice and thematic questions and will count for 75% of the grade.

The evaluation of the second part is as follows:

  •     A test that may combine multiple-choice and thematic questions and will count for 50% of the grade.
  •     A final essay of a maximum of 3,000 words, which will count for 50% of the grade. The essay will be in groups of up to 5 members and will include a presentation and discussion in class.

To make an average of the different continuous assessment tests, it is necessary to obtain a minimum of 3 out of 10 in each of the tests.

Students who have failed the continuous assessment with a grade between 3.5 and 4.9 will have the right to a final theoretical exam. To be able to take the exam, the student must have been evaluated in a set of activities whose weight is at least 2/3 of the total grade for the subject.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Group essay (part 1) 12,5% 13 0.52 5, 2, 7, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 1, 15, 14, 12
Group essay (part 2) 25% 14 0.56 5, 2, 3, 4, 7, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 1, 15, 14, 12
Written test (part 1) 37,5% 2 0.08 5, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 1, 15, 12
Written test (part 2) 25% 2 0.08 5, 2, 3, 4, 7, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 1, 15, 14, 12


(Basic literature in bold)

Blanco, J.M. (2008) Economía. Teoría y práctica. 5ª ed. MC Graw Hill.

Common, M., Stagl, S. (2008) Introducción a la Economía Ecológica, Ed. Reverté.

Krugman, P., Wells R., Olney, M.L. (2012) Fundamentos de economía, 3 ed. Ed. Reverté.

Martínez Alier, J., Roca, J. (2013). Economía ecológica y política ambiental, Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 639 p. Biblioteca CC.SS.  E17.80 Mar, Biblioteca Ciencias 504.03 Mar 

Munda, G. (1996): “Cost-benefit analysis in integrated environmental assessment: some methodological issues”, Ecological Economics, Vol. 19: 157-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0921-8009(96)00048-1

Romero, C. (1997). Economía de los recursos ambientales y naturales, Alianza , Madrid, 214 p.

Samuelson, P., Nordhaus, W. (2005) Economía 18a. Edició, Mc. Graw Hill.

Agüero, A.A., Carral, M., Sauad, J.J., Yazlle, L.L. (2005): “Aplicación del método de valoración contingente en la evaluación del sistema de gestión de residuos sólidos domiciliarios en la ciudad de Salta, Argentina”, Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Vol. 2: 37-44. Versión electrónica disponibleenhttp://redibec.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/rev2_04_2005.pdf

Aguilera, F. (2008). La nueva economía del agua. Los libros de la Catarata, Madrid, 160 p. Biblioteca CC.SS.  E17.60 Agu

Aguilera, F. (1992): “El fin de la tragedia de los comunes”, Ecología Política, Nro. 3: 137-145. Disponible online en http://www.ecologiapolitica.info/novaweb2/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/3.pdf

Azqueta, D. (2002). Introducción a la Economía Ambiental, McGraw Hill Profesional, Madrid, 420 p. Biblioteca CC.SS. E17.80 Azq. Biblioteca Ciencias 504.03 Azq

Carpintero, O. (2005). El metabolismo de la economía española. Recursos naturales y huella ecológica (1955 – 2000). Fundación César Manrique, Lanzarote, 636 p. Libro completo disponible en:http://www.fcmanrique.org/recursos/publicacion/elmetabolismo.pdf

Espinoza, V.S., Fontalvo, J., Martí-Herrero, J., Ramírez, P., Capellán-Pérez, I. (2019): “Future oil extraction in Ecuador using a Hubbert approach”, Energy, Vol. 182: 520-534. Disponible en http://sci-hub.tw/10.1016/j.energy.2019.06.061

Falconí, F., Burbano, R. (2004). Instrumentos económicos para la gestión ambiental: decisiones monocriteriales versus decisiones multicriteriales. Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Vol. 1: 11-20. Versión electrónica disponible en http://www.redibec.org/ccount/click.php?id=2

GRAIN (2014): Hambrientos de tierra: los pueblos indígenas y campesinos alimentan al mundo con menos de un cuarto de la tierra agrícola mundial. Disponible online en https://www.grain.org/es/article/entries/4956-hambrientos-de-tierra-los-pueblos-indigenas-y-campesinos-alimentan-al-mundo-con-menos-de-un-cuarto-de-la-tierra-agricola-mundial

Jacobs, M. (1997). La economía verde. Icaria Editorial, Barcelona, 431 p. Biblioteca CC.SS E17.80 Jac

Madrid, C., Velázquez, E. (2008). El metabolismo hídrico y los flujos de agua virtual. Una aplicación al sector hortofrutícola de Andalucía (España).Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Vol. 8: 29-47. Versión electrónica disponible en http://www.redibec.org/ccount/click.php?id=46

Martinez Alier, J., (2005). El ecologismo de los pobres. Un estudio de conflictos ecológicos y lenguajes de valoración, Icaria, Barcelona. Biblioteca CC.SS.  E17.01 Mar, Biblioteca Ciencias 504.03 Mar

Martínez Tuna, M., Kosoy daroqui, N. (2007). Compensaciones monetarias y conservación de bosques. Pagos por servicios ambientales y pobreza en una comunidad rural en Honduras. Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Vol. 6: 40-51. Versión electrónica disponible en http://www.redibec.org/ccount/click.php?id=33 

Munda,G. (2004). Métodos y procesos multicriterio para la evaluación social de las políticas públicas. Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Vol. 1: 31-45. Versión electrónica disponible en http://www.redibec.org/ccount/click.php?id=46

Pearce, D., Turner, K. (1995). Economía de los recursos naturales y del medio ambiente. Colegio de Economistas de Madrid Celeste, 448 p. Biblioteca CC.SS.  E17.80 Pea, Biblioteca Ciencias 504.03 Pea

Puig, I., Freire, J. (2007): “Efectos de las políticas ambientales sobre la competitividad”, Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Vol. 6: 52-61. Versión electrónica disponible en http://redibec.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/rev6_04.pdf

Ramos-Martin, J. (2001): “De Kyoto a Marrakech: historia de una flexibilización anunciada”, Ecología Política 22: 45-56. Versión electrónica disponible en http://www.ecologiapolitica.info/ep/22.pdf

Ramos-Martin, J. (2004). La perspectiva biofísica de la relació home-natura: Economia Ecològica, en J. Valdivielso (Ed.), Les dimensions socials de la crisi ecològica, Edicions UIB, Palma de Mallorca, 316 p. Biblioteca CC.SS  E17.01 Dim



No need for specific software.