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AREC 350
Economics, Ethics, and Environmental Policies




The economic and ethical dimensions of public and private policy decisions are critical factors in understanding and resolving environmental and natural resource challenges in our society today. Biotechnology, endangered species, groundwater contamination, property rights, land use, climate change, genetically modified food, and air quality are just a few examples of current policy areas which challenge scientists, business executives, government leaders, and concerned lay people. AREC 350 develops your capabilities to critically understand and analyze these issues using economic concepts and principles. The course introduces a select number of economic, ethical and negotiation tools to enhance your ability to analyze environmental management alternatives and make decisions.  Two special “threads” weave their way throughout this course:
1. the application environmental conflict resolution tools (i.e. mutual gains approach), and
2. private sector innovation for resolving environmental concerns.
Lectures and small in-class projects, supplemented by videos and case studies, are the primary teaching/learning methods.

Students satisfactorily completing this course can:

  1. Define and understand the complex ethical and economic issues imbedded in environmental and natural resource policies and conflicts.
  2. Critically analyze and evaluate the economic tradeoffs and social interests of individuals and organizations, both private and public.
  3. Apply conflict resolution skills to reduce transaction costs associated with environmental and natural

Completion of two general education courses in Individuals and Societies. Completion of ECON 200 or 201A is helpful, but not required.

Required Materials

Lawrence Susskind, Paul F. Levy and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer, Negotiating Environmental Agreements, (Island Press, Washington, D.C., 2000).

Supplemental materials/readings will be handed out in class or placed on the course website during the semester. Please purchase a large 3-ring notebook for your notes and handouts. These supplemental materials/readings are required for the class.

Optional Reading

The following book is out of print but some students may find it useful background for the economic principles and analytical tools presented in the course:
William F. Farron, Robert D. Perlack and John J. Boland. Fundamentals of Economics for Environmental Managers. Quorum Books, Westport, Connecticut, 1998.

This book can be found on the course website at

Examples of old quizzes/exams are available on this website along with a copy of this syllabus.

Course Requirements

In-Term Exams (4 @ 75 pts each)
Extra Credit Pop Quizzes (3 points each)
Short Essays and Other Assignments

Consistent class attendance is critical since most of the lecture material does not appear in the required textbook. Active listening and accurate note taking represent important learning skills. As appropriate, upcoming assignments will be discussed at the beginning of each class period.

There will not be a final exam.

In-term exams will feature short essay questions, with selected definitions and analytical problems comprising a smaller part of the tests. Examples of previous quizzes/exams are available on the course website.

Extra Credit
A pop quiz may be administered at the end of a class period. These quizzes are extra credit and provide valuable feedback to the instructor and encourage attendance.

A standards-based system is used in which grades are assigned on an approximate 90% and above = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, etc. basis. Grades are not based on a curve. Examples of previous quizzes/exams are available on the course website.

Examination Policy
There will be no make-up quizzes scheduled if a student is absent on the scheduled quiz date. With proper justification, the weight of the missed quiz may be placed on the remaining quizzes but only after consultation with and approved by the instructor. Timely communication (before the fact) with Professor Wilson is critical in all matters.

Confidentiality of Student Records

Course Withdrawal
Course withdrawals filed by the end of the fourth week of classes result in cancellation of registration in the course. For course withdrawals filed from the end of the fourth week of classes until the end of the eighth week of classes, the grade of "W" is awarded to students who are passing at the time of withdrawal; the grade of "E" may be awarded to students not passing at the time of withdrawal. Both grades show on the student's permanent record.

The last day on which a student may drop a course is the last day of the eighth week during which classes are held, except for an extraordinary reason approved by the student's college dean (in the case of undergraduate students) or by the Dean of Students (in the case of students withdrawing completely from the University). (

Incomplete Policy
The grade of I may be awarded only at the end of a term, when all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed. The grade of I will not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when the student is expected to repeat the course; in such a case, a grade other than I will be assigned.  Students should make arrangements with the Professor Wilson to receive an incomplete grade before the end of the semester.

Classroom Behavior
Please turn off your cell phone/pager and any musical device during the class period. Please ask Professor Wilson for permission to use your laptop to take notes; without instructor permission laptops will not be allowed in class. Students disrupting class activities will be asked to leave.

The Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5- 308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to one’s self. 

Special Needs and Accommodations Statement
Students who need special accommodation or services should contact the Disability Resources Center, 1224 East Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, (520) 621-3268, FAX (520) 621-9423, email:,  You must register and request that the Center or DRC send Dr. Wilson official notification of your accommodations needs as soon as possible.  Please plan to meet with Professor Wilson by appointment or during office hours to discuss accommodations and how my course requirements and activities may impact your ability to fully participate. The need for accommodations must be provided by the appropriate office.


Salt Center
1010 N. Highland
PO Box 210136
Tucson, AZ 85721-0136
(520) 621-1242
(520) 621-9448 FAX
(520) 621-6072 TTY

Disability Resource Center
1224 E. Lowell Street
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 621-3268
(520) 621-9423 FAX
(520) 626-6072 TTY

The need for accommodation must be documented by the appropriate office.

Academic Integrity
Integrity and ethical behavior are expected of every student in all academic work. This Academic Integrity principle stands for honesty in all class work, and ethical conduct in all labs and clinical assignments. (


General Course Outline

I. Introduction

A. Economics and Ethics
B. Institutions
C. Property Rights
D. Political Economy Frameworks

II. Environmental and Natural Resource Disputes

A. Mutual Gains Approach
B. Cooperative Conflict Strategy
C. Intractable Conflict
D. Related Strategies

III. Values and Beliefs

A. World Views: A Brief Overview
B. Ethical Theories

IV. Interests, Incentives and Tradeoffs, Interdependencies and Power: Economics of Environmental Management

A. Supply and Demand
B. Market Efficiency
C. Firm-Level Response: Managing Environmental Regulation
D. Benefit-Cost Analysis
E. Valuation Techniques
F. Risk and Uncertainty
G. Economics of Environmental Quality
H. Interdependencies
I. Coalitions
J. Power

Proposed Class Schedule




January 16

1. Syllabus
2. Political Economy Framework


January 18

Definitions I


January 21

NO CLASS—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


January 23

Definitions II


January 25

Institutions, Property Rights and Institutional Change


January 28

Environmental Conflict Resolution I


January 30

Environmental Conflict Resolution II


February 1

Environmental Conflict Resolution III


February 4

Environmental Conflict Resolution IV


February 6

Environmental Conflict Resolution V


February 8

World Views I


February 11

World Views II


February 13

In-Term Exam #1


February 15

World Views III


February 18



February 20

Deontological Ethics


February 22



February 25



February 27

Economic Foundations for Environmental Management: Concepts of Demand and Supply


February 29

Demand and Supply II


March 3

Demand and Supply III


March 5

Demand and Supply IV


March 7

Market Efficiency I


March 10

Market Efficiency II


March 12

In-Term Exam #2


March 14

Firm-level Economic/Management Response I


March 17-21



March 24

Firm-level Economic/Management Response II


March 26

Benefit-Cost Analysis I


March 28

Benefit-Cost Analysis II


March 31

Benefit-Cost Analysis III


April 2

Valuation Techniques I


April 4

Valuation Techniques II
Risk and Uncertainty


April 7

Economics of Environmental Quality I


April 9

In-term Exam #3


April 11

Economics of Environmental Quality II


April 14

Economics of Environmental Quality III


April 16

Economics of Environmental Quality IV


April 18

Interdependencies Revisited I


April 21

Interdependencies Revisited II


April 23

Interdependencies Revisited III


April 25

Coalitions I


April 28

Coalitions II


April 30

Economics of Power I


May 2

Economics of Power II


May 5

Economics of  Power III
Course Evaluation


May 7

In-term Exam #4

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Site last updated January 12, 2007
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