New master programme Economics of Sustainability

Published on
February 28, 2022

A new master programme will start at Wageningen University in September 2022. The M.Sc. programme Economics of Sustainability focuses on the interactions between economic actors and the natural environment. In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, such as environmental degradation and pollution, climate change, sustainable markets, the bio-economy, and urban and rural development.

The programme trains students to approach real world problems such as environmental tipping points, unequal access to resources, and rising inequality. Quantitative skills will be applied to analyze real-world problems in food systems, natural resources and the living environment, and to provide economic solutions that promote transitions to a sustainable future. With the help of quantitative economic techniques and relevant economic theories, you learn to understand the nature of these problems and to seek viable solutions.

To qualify for admission, students should have a BSc in Economics or a BSs in Business or Life Sciences with a substantial economics component. Check Admission and Application for more information.

Thematic specializations

The programme has a multidisciplinary character by its relation with environmental, agricultural, and food sciences. Within the specialization, students choose one of the three thematic specializations, Food, Development, and Environment. This choice involves following the respective specialization course.

Food - Economics of EU policies for Sustainable Transitions

Agri‐food markets worldwide have been fundamentally challenged in recent decades by changes in economic, political, societal and natural conditions such as climate change and pressure on natural resources. This course focusses on the economic analysis of policies designed to support the transition of agri‐food markets towards a biobased economy for ensuring a sustainable future of food systems. The course discusses the economic implications of such policies which include at the EU level the Green Deal, the Farm‐to‐Fork strategy and the Biodiversity strategy. Relevant aspects that are addressed include circular agriculture, viability of rural areas and sustainable food provision. The course analyses the economic implications and changing incentives for farmers and consumers that result from these public instruments. It trains participants in applying micro‐ economic tools such as welfare analysis to understand and quantify policy effects on stakeholders and in assessing the quality of policy designs.

Development - Central Themes  Economics of Development

Development economics deals with economic and social issues in low‐income countries. The international agenda pays permanently attention to issues such as "poverty", "food security", and "missing markets ", but additionally issues such as "consequences of aids for development", "structural adjustment", and "globalization and technology" gain importance. This course deals with a combination of permanent and current issues.

Environment - The Economics of Sustainable and fair use of the Environment and Natural Resources

This course applies economic theories, econometric, and/or modelling skills on real world problems related to human‐environment interactions and natural resources. Potential key topics are (i) economics of climate change (e.g. intergenerational ethics, evaluating policy instruments, climate mitigation and adaptation), (ii) economics of social‐ecological systems (e.g. biodiversity, fisheries, forestry), (iii) environmental behavioural economics (e.g. social norms, framing of policy options).