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Questions to Relate and Apply Key Terms and Concepts

  • Does improving environmental quality necessarily mean reducing rates of economic growth?
  • What are some of the differences between standard neoclassical economics, environmental economics, and ecological economics? What are some similarities?
  • What are externalities? Be able to show the effect of including (internalizing) externalities on a supply and demand graph
  • What is sustainable development?
  • Explain the standard economic model, and the place (or lack thereof) of natural resources.
  • What are some of the main assumptions of neo-classical economics?
  • What is a market failure?
  • Be able to explain why property rights are important.
  • Be able to read a supply and demand graph, be able to predict how supply and demand curves will change if conditions change (tax increases, subsidies, new production methods, etc.)
  • Understand the concept of economic (Pareto) efficiency.
  • Be able to explain weak and strong sustainability.
  • Understand and be able to apply the Coase theorem given a graph of marginal benefits and marginal costs.
  • Be able to explain why tragedies of the commons occurs.
  • Be able to identify, on a graph, levels of economic optimum (max benefits) and open access equilibrium for use of an open access resource. Explain how you can move from the latter to the former.
  • Understand the concept of Present Value and discounting, be able to calculate it for a given date in the future given a particular discount rate.
  • Understand different types of values for the environment (direct, indirect, existence, etc.).
  • Understand the concept of Ecosystem Services.
  • Be able to explain different ways of environmental valuation (contingent, travel, hedonic).
  • Be able to explain the problems with Cost Benefit Analysis (Efficiency Standard), explain alternative approaches.
  • Explain the concept of Natural Capital.
  • In the context of sustainability, understand why neoclassical economists are not worried about loss of natural capital. Understand why ecological economists are worried about loss of natural capital.
  • Given a graph of marginal benefits and marginal costs, be able to identify the where, in relation to the efficient level of pollution a safety standard advocate would place acceptable levels of pollution. Be able to explain why an efficiency standard advocate would criticize this type of pollution reduction strategy, and why a safety standard advocate would say that it is better than the efficiency standard.
  • Be able to identify the different types of utility functions, what the âweightâ (the w) means and why it is used/placed where it is.

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