Why is there so much waste? Can or should it be reduced? By how much – and why, in the first place? The module “Circular Economy” picks up these questions. Reduction of waste, reduction of primary resource extraction, and increasing resource use efficiency are high on the political agenda of the EU and its member states. While much of the debate is about enhancing technologies that facilitate reuse, repair and recycling of goods, this course examines the economic rationale of the circular economy. The course offers an introduction to Hotelling’s model of efficient intertemporal resource extraction, an extension of the model to the waste sector, and the development of some generic economic models of recycling. We will explore what drives the strength of rebound effects, i.e. the question whether (and to what extent) recycling can indeed foster resource conservation. Such questions are addressed with tools for dynamic optimization. In the course will introduce optimal control theory and use it to develop models of extraction and recycling.
- Assessment is based on a group paper (3000-5000) words, where 2-3 student co-author a paper; based on the group papers and active participation in class students can earn 2 ECTS. Deadline for this assignment= 26th of November
- It is possible to extend the course to 3 ECTS by writing up an individual research note (max. 2000 words – Economics Letters style)
Textbook / Course materials
- Conrad & Rondeau (2020) Natural Resource Economics. Cambridge University Press. (Please get your own copy)
- Selected articles (available from electronic libraries)
At the end of this course the student understands:
- the economic interconnections between resources, recycling and waste,
- understands economic feedback effects that are relevant in the circular economy,
- can set up economic models of material flows,
- has experience with optimal control models for dynamic optimisation,
- can solve a base model of resource use and recycling analytically and numerically using mathematical software,
- can interpret model outcomes and discuss implications for resource and waste policies.
Target group and min/max number of participants:
The course “Environmental and Resource Economics” is meant for PhD students in economics and environmental sciences. The general level of assumed knowledge is “intermediate” in the domain of microeconomics; master level courses in environmental economics and/or natural resource economics are an advantage. Good knowledge of calculus is required. Beyond that the course is self-contained. Essential models of resource economics on which the builds will be introduced in the lectures. If in doubt whether this course is suitable for you, please send an email to the coordinator of the respective module.
This course is organised by SENSE, here you can find more information and registration.