Ethics, Economics and Environmental Protection


This module aims to equip students with the capacity to think critically about ethical and economic approaches to environmental protection issues and the relationship between the two. It will examine human rights, eco-centric, utilitarian and economic perspectives both at the theoretical level and in the practical context of policy arguments over the appropriate role of regulatory, community-centred, and market-based forms of environmental decision-making.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Show knowledge of the major ethical traditions in contemporary environmental thought and their contribution to debates concerning the relationship between human beings and the natural world
  • Understand the way in which economists approach questions of environmental decision making including the concepts of collective/public goods, common pool resources, market failure, and government failure
  • Appreciate the potential relationships and tensions between ethical and economic approaches to environmental protection issues
  • Critically evaluate a range of economic and democratic ‘policy tools’ for environmental management
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