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Econ 136: Week 3 Tasks

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ECON 136:  Week 3 Tasks

With the snow, I'm just shifting back our tasks by one class meeting (except for the short paper due Monday night).   Wednesday and Friday we meet in Dalton 25 at 10:10.

Monday:  Snow Day II

Monday night:

Profiling Your Community Assignment due in your Dropbox folder before you retire (or by 3am Tuesday)

Wednesday:  Environmental Services

Preparing for class:

Read Tietenberg – Valuing the Environment (Tietenberg, T. and L. Lewis (2009).  Environmental & Natural Resource Economics.  8th ed.  Boston:  Pearson, 14-16) and

EE – Ecosystem Services (Daly, H.E. an J. Farley (2011)  Ecological Economics.  2nd ed. Washington  Island Press, 103-110 & 461)

Things to think about:

An environmental economist places the economy inside the environment; an ecologist sees the economy as part of an interrelated whole.   What do we gain or lose by focusing on one approach or the other?

Compare your feelings when you think of the Environment as providing a bounty of blessings that sustain our lives; or as a flow of services that we combine with labor, capital services, and intermediate goods to address our needs and wants.

What is the difference between a stock and a flow, between a service and an asset?

How do economists value the services provided by environmental “assets”?

Don’t worry about the discussion Daly and Farley have about rival vs. excludability; we’ll come back to this later in the semester.

The Executive Summary (pp. 1-2 [4-5 of the pdf]) of  Taylor, L.O., X. Liu and T.  Hamil (2012, April 2).  Amenity Values of Proximity to National Wildlife Refuges.  Final Report to Jim Caudill and Kevin Kilcullen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Peter Grigelis,  U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Policy Analysis (mimeo).  Retrieved from summarizes one strategy for estimating some of the value of an environmental resource.    Check out the cover.

What do you take away from skimming this Nature article on the Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services (Costanza, R. et al. (1997, May 15).  The value of the world’s ecosystem. Nature. 387, 253-260.  Retrieved from

Friday:  Revising GDP (Expanding What We Count and Measure)

Preparing for class:

Read Tietenberg – Alternatives to GDP (Tietenberg, T. and L. Lewis (2009).  Environmental & Natural Resource Economics.  8th ed.  Boston:  Pearson, 559-565) and

EE – Ecosystem Services (Daly, H.E. an J. Farley (2011)  Ecological Economics.  2nd ed. Washington  Island Press, 103-110 & 461)

If you are interested in learning more about the alternative measures of welfare described in the Tietenberg, here are the relevant links:

Here's the link for Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Index.

Things to Think About:

What’s the difference between an output measure and a welfare measure.   What flaws in GDP does each of the following seek to correct?

            Adjusted Net Savings

            Genuine Progress Indicator

            Human Development Index

            Ecological Footprint

Gross National Happiness Index

Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare

What are major challenges in trying to measure welfare? 

Looking ahead:

Monday:  Choice & Opportunity Cost

Preparing for class:

In Sapling Learning, read Taylor, Ch. 2, pp. 15-18 and 26-33

If so inclined, you might think about how to draw a budget line or a production possibility frontier in your word processor, spreadsheet or drawing program.


Before you retire Thursday night (or by 3am Friday)

      Complete the Choice and Opportunity Cost problem set in Sapling Learning.

Tietenberg -- Valuing the Environment.pdf286.38 KB
EE -- Valuing Ecosystem Services.pdf458.96 KB
Tietenberg -- Alternatives to GDP.pdf636.54 KB
EE -- Alternatives to GDP.pdf825.11 KB