• Class Number 7495
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Paul Wyrwoll
    • Dr Paul Wyrwoll
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course examines the 'economic way of thinking' for environmental and resource management. The potential for markets, taxes, and subsidies to address environmental problems is explored across pollution control, water, energy, climate change, among other areas. Requirements and challenges associated with economic policy instruments are compared to those associated with traditional regulatory-based, or ‘command and control’, mechanisms for dealing with environmental issues. Key economic principles and techniques are applied to contemporary case studies throughout the course, including cost-benefit analysis of dam projects and alternative approaches to managing urban water scarcity.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Investigate how economic concepts can be applied to environmental and natural resources management.
  2. Critically assess the opportunities and challenges of using market-based and traditional regulatory ('command and control) mechanisms to address environmental issues.
  3. Analyse the role of economics in the management of natural resources, including water, fisheries, and energy.
  4. Critically review cost-benefit analyses in the context of environmental and natural resource policy.
  5. Explain the theoretical basis of environmental valuation and how it can be applied to multiple policy settings.

Research-Led Teaching

Students will have the opportunity throughout the course to engage with the course convener's research across water and energy economics and policy, cost-benefit analysis, non-market valuation, and nature-based solutions.

Field Trips

A field trip to the Dickson wetland during the Week 5 workshop (weather and logistics permitting). Online students will be provided with a video tour as an alternative if the in-person event proceeds.

Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

No mandatory textbook.

Required and further readings will be provided for each week, including journal articles, reports, videos, and podcasts.

Students seeking to delve further into the theory and application of economics to environmental and natural resource management will be able to access relevant chapters of the following textbooks online through the course Wattle page or the ANU Library:

Environmental and Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach by Harris and Roach (2018)

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics by Tietenberg and Lewis (2018)

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

More details are available on the Wattle site.


The Crawford School of Public Policy has its own Academic Skills team dedicated to helping students to understand the academic expectations of studying at Crawford and succeed in their chosen program of study. Through individual appointments, course-embedded workshops and online resources, Crawford Academic Skills provides tailored advice to students keen to develop their academic reading, thinking, planning, writing, and presentation skills.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to economic approaches to environmental & resources management (and why this course is important)Overview of key economic concepts and tools to help us throughout the rest of the course
2 Environmental externalities: what they are, and they are everywhereGovernment & market failure: it takes two to tango
3 Economic policy instruments: strengths & weaknesses
4 Cost-benefit analysis & discounting: tricks of the trade
5 Environmental valuation: what it is, why and when, and how to do it (or critique it)
6 Tragedy of the commons? Or sustainable management of common-pool resources? Mid-Semester Exam
7 Prices & pricing
8 (The magic of) renewable resources
9 Non-renewable resources (and why they might not be as scarce as they might seem)
10 Systems thinking and perverse outcomes
11 Sustainable finance: The bad, the ugly, and the better
12 Environmental accounting, or how can we measure environmental sustainability?

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Workshop assessments 15 % * * 1,2,3
Mid-semester examination (open-book) 25 % 30/08/2023 07/09/2023 1,2,3,4
Policy brief 20 % 18/09/2023 03/10/2023 1,2
Policy report 40 % 25/10/2023 01/12/2023 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are expected to exchange knowledge with their peers and the course convenor through interactive sessions and online discussion forums.


A mid-semester examination (open-book, take home exam) on content lectured in Weeks 1-5. Students will have 24 hours to complete the exam and submit through Turnitin. Word limits will be assigned to each exam question.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Workshop assessments

This series of small workshop assessments (worth between 2.5%-5% of the overall grade each) will help students prepare for workshops and engage with course materials. They will include: (a) a recorded 5 minute presentation regarding an environmental issue in the location where each student lives or their home country/town in Week 3, (b) contribution of questions to recorded interviews with authors of reading materials, and (c) possibly other small tasks to be defined at the beginning of semester.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 30/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 07/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Mid-semester examination (open-book)

A mid-semester examination (open-book, take home exam) on content lectured in Weeks 1-5. Students will have 24 hours to complete the exam and submit through Turnitin. Word limits will be assigned to each exam question.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 18/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 03/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Policy brief

A 1,000-word policy brief using a provided template on a contemporary environmental or natural resource policy issue. The objective of the assessment will be to use economic concepts and ways of thinking to recommend a course of policy action. Students may choose to answer a pre-defined topic or define their own topic (in consultation with the course convener). A small to moderate amount of research will be required for this assessment and there will be restrictions on the number of references.       

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 25/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Policy report

A 2,500-word policy brief using a provided template on a contemporary environmental or natural resource policy issue. The objectives of the assessment will be to: (a) conduct research on an environmental or natural resource policy issue, (b) use economic analytical approaches to explain the issue, (c) assess alternative policy approaches using tools and methods discussed in the course, and (d) make a recommendation to policy-makers. Students may choose to answer a pre-defined topic or define their own topic (in consultation with the course convener). A significant amount of research will be required for this major assessment. A component of the mark will include a presentation during the final workshop of the semester.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Paul Wyrwoll

Research Interests

Environmental & resource economics & policy

Dr Paul Wyrwoll

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Paul Wyrwoll

Research Interests

Dr Paul Wyrwoll

By Appointment
By Appointment

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