Course code ECN306

ECN306 Economics of Sustainability

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Arild Einar Bjørn Angelsen
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel. The first part is lectures and some group work. The last part is group work and presentations.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2017-2018
Preferential right:
The course is open for Master students in Applied Economics and Sustainability, Bioeconomics and Business Administration. Students from other study programs at NMBU and exchange students, who have good background in economics, may apply for admission, by sending an e-mail to Study Coordinator at the School of Economics and Business:
Course contents:
The course consists of two parts. First, it provides an introduction to key concepts, theories and conceptual frameworks on the economics of sustainability. Topics include: definitions and operationalization of sustainability (environmental, social, economic), 'doughnut economics' and 'limits to growth'/planetary boundaries, policy instruments (green taxes, cap-and-trade, green nudging, etc.); valuation and risk; and political economy. Second, students will apply these to a case (problem or policy related to sustainability), using a modified case study format: defining the problem, identifying main stakeholders, outlining and assessing options (solutions), and strategy for implementation. Examples of case topics include Norwegian policy issues (e.g., subsidies of electric vehicles, rush-hour taxes, petroleum licenses, technology development), or international issues (e.g., carbon trading, import of palm oil).
Learning outcome:

Upon completion of the course, the students will:

  • Have an understanding of economic concepts and theories relevant to sustainability;
  • Be able to apply these to specific problems or policy measures;
  • Have developed skills in independently collecting relevant information and data and conducting research; and
  • Have improved their skills in group work and presentation of their own work.
Learning activities:
The first part is will be in the form of lectures, student presentations and group discussions. The second part will be group work. The groups will do independent search and compilation of information on the chosen topic, prepare a presentation and write the final report. 
Teaching support:
Each group will be assigned a faculty member as a mentor for their case study. 
Selected journal articles, reports and book chapters.
Basic knowledge of economics, including intermediate microeconomics and preferably also basic environmental and resource economics. 
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Mandatory participation in first class (lecture), and in 2/3 of the classes (which are held once per week). Mandatory participation in the group work, and in the class presentation of the group's report. Mandatory activities are valid only in the semester the course is being taken. 
Combined assessment, consisting of (i) portfolio being carried out during the teaching period, and (ii) a multiple choice exam during the teaching period. The portfolio consists of a group assignment and an oral presentation of it.
Nominal workload:
125 hours
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).
Type of course:
Three hours per week for lectures (part 1) and group work (part 2). One full day for presentation of cases at the end of the course.
The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course. 
External examiner will control the quality of syllabus and criteria for the examination.
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Combined assessment: Passed / Not Passed