• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International and Developmental Economics
  • Areas of interest Economics
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The course is designed to develop an understanding of the sustainability of entire nations, and of the world. Among the questions addressed are: How can sustainability be defined? Is it feasible, for either a nation or the world? How might national accounts be used to measure if a nation, or the world, is developing sustainably? This leads naturally to "ecological economics" questions. Are there any limits to the substitution of human-made capital for environmental resource inputs in making marketed goods, or of marketed goods for environmental quality and social coherence in making people happy? How uncertain and sudden might such limits be? Can they be detected by measuring the economy in physical rather than monetary units?

* Scoping and defining sustainability and intergenerational equity
* Economic growth with depletable resources and/or pollution
* Measurement of sustainability and income: theory and empirics
* Environmental and sustainability policies
* Case study of greenhouse gas emission control
* Physical measures of sustainability, such as Ecological Footprints
* Environment and development: the Environmental Kuznets curve

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

Distinguish between neoclassical and ecological definitions of, and assumptions relating to, the sustainability of both the global economy and national economies

Demonstrate an understanding of how resource non-renewability, nonrenewable resource substitutability and importance in production, exogenous or endogenous technical progress, declining interest rates and impatience all affect global and national sustainability

Use economic and environmental data to calculate, with suitable qualifications, the neoclassical sustainability of a nation's economy

Explain how and why different analyses of climate policy produce such different recommendations for controlling greenhouse gas emissions

Explain the strengths and weaknesses of ecological measures of national sustainability

Other Information

Delivery Mode:

On Campus

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial assignments: best 3 out of 5 Exercises (15%) and compulsory Essay (10%);
Mid-term Examination (25%); Final Examination (50%)

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4 contact hours per week; 6 study hours per week

Prescribed Texts

A draft textbook is available from the lecturer

Preliminary Reading

(1) Hanley, Nick, Jason F. Shogren and Ben White (2007a). "The economics of sustainable development." Chapter 2 of Environmental Economics in Theory and Practice, 2nd edn. London, Palgrave Macmillan.

(2) Cole, Matthew A. (2003). "Environmental optimists, environmental pessimists and the real state of the world - an article examining The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World by Bjorn Lomborg." Economic Journal, 113, F362-F380.

(3). Nordhaus, William D. (1992). "Lethal Model 2: The limits to growth revisited." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2, 1-59.

Assumed Knowledge

Pre-requisites: Master's level microeconomics (IDEC8064, ECON8025 or equivalent), and basic calculus (IDEC8015, ECON2125, MATH1013 or equivalent).


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 3
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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