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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Natural Resource Economics

Unit code ECON30232
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


See course Blackboard pages.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Microeconomics IIA ECON20351 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Further Mathematics ECON20281 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
ECON10001 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Mathematical Economics I ECON20120 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Mathematical Economics I (10cp) ECON20120 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics IIB ECON20352 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Advanced Mathematics ECON10071 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Pre-requisites: ECON20351 plus at least one of: Micro IIB (ECON20352), Math Econ I (ECON20120/30320), Further Math (ECON10001/20281) or Advanced Math (ECON10071)

In addition to ECON20351, students must also have taken at least one of the following (compulsory Pre-Requisite):

  • ECON20352 or
  • ECON20120 or
  • ECON10001 or
  • ECON10071 or
  • ECON20281


This course explores the use of natural resources (such as fisheries, forests, fossil fuels and minerals) from an economic perspective. The goal here is to examine the efficient allocation of resources over time using economic principles. To analyse the inherent dynamics related to natural resources, we discuss first the fundamentals of dynamic optimization and then apply the technique to address economic efficiency by analysing the trade-off involved in inter-temporal decision making. We examine the role of markets (Monopoly, oligopoly, and competition) and property right institutions (private property and open access) in managing the resource efficiently and sustainably. We discuss the effectiveness of different management mechanisms varies from tradable-quotas and tax-subsidy to incorporation of behavioural realities and institutional changes (e.g., common pool resource management).

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate their understanding of some of the fundamental relationships between economic activity and the ‘natural environment'.
  2. Demonstrate their understanding of the optimal rate of use of non renewable natural resources and the role of the interest rate, extraction costs and backstop technologies on the price and supply path.
  3. Use bioeconomic models & demonstrate their understanding of the optimal rate of use of renewable natural resources and role of property rights regimes.




Topic 1. Introduction.

Topic 2. Economics of Non-Renewable resources.

Topic 3. Economics of Renewable Resources.

Topic 4: Dynamic Optimization (Optimal Control Technique).

Topic 5. Management Mechanisms.

Topic 6. Other related issues (e.g., Forest economics, Ecological Economics).


Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and tutorial classes.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Problem solving
Planning independent research and study using library, electronic and online resources.
Information retrieval. Numeracy. Literacy. Computer literacy. Time-management Applying subject knowledge. Improving own learning.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 25%
Written exam 75%

Final Exam:

  • Weighting: 75%
  • Date: May/June examination period
  • Length: 1.5 hours
  • Structure: There will be no multiple choice questions. The exam consists of two sections: Section A (counting for 40% of the exam’s mark) and Section B (60% of the exam’s mark). Students need to answer one compulsory question in Section A to get full credit; while in Section B, students need to answer only 2 out of 3 questions for full credit. The questions in Section A and Section B may consist of several sub-questions. Overall, the exam contains mathematical questions (i.e., students have to perform a calculation, or derive a relationship), and theoretical ones (i.e., students have to explain a concept, draw a diagram, or develop their thoughts on a policy issue).


Coursework 1:

  • Weighting: 10%.
  • Structure: The coursework consists of ONE question: you need to solve a numerical question using Excel Solver.
  • Mode of submission: you need to submit your work via Turnitin.


Coursework 2:

  • Weighting: 15%.
  • Structure: TBA.

Feedback methods

  • Mock exam.
  • Tutorial feedback.
  • Office hours.
  • Discussion boards.

Recommended reading

  • Conrad, J (1999) Resource Economics. CUP.
  • T. Tietenberg, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Pearson / Addison Wesley.
  • R. Perman, Y. Ma, J. McGilvray, M. Common (2003), Natural Resource and Environmental Economics (3rd Ed. Or 4th Ed.).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 18
Practical classes & workshops 7
Independent study hours
Independent study 73.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Prasenjit Banerjee Unit coordinator

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