Professor Kahn

office hours: TuTh 9:00 to 11:00, or whenever.


office phone: X8036

cellphone: 540-460-1421





This course examines the relationship between the environment and the economic system and the implications of this relationship for sustainable development. A critical aspect of this will be understanding the role of ecological services and their vulnerability to human activities.


This will be a relatively intense course, with a lot of reading and the student presenting four case studies. Students will read journal articles with formal economic models, with empirical studies, and construction of new policy instruments. Grades will be based on class participation (15%), four case studies on assigned topics (15% each), and the fifth case study on your choice of topic (25%). Since this is a short semester, students should not miss class except for participation in official university activities (such as an away game in a varsity sport).


Since the learning experience of other students is dependent on the quality of your case studies, mediocre effort will result in a failing grade.






Readings that are not available online will be available in the Environmental Studies Lab (A-103, science bldg). These are listed in the outline in purple. You will receive instructions regarding the key.




Class 1: (April 21)


freview of environment and economy

readings: first five chapters of Kahn, the Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources or Characteristics and Criteria for Environmental Decision-Making: Implications for Materials Policy, Technical Report CETEM/IMAAC,, 98 pages, 2001 {note: go to site, click on reports, click on reports in English})


Millenium Assessment Report, pages v to 24.


Second half: Choose topics for May 18 talks on energy


Class 2: (April 23)

First hour:  Economic Development-Guest lecture by Professor Hugo Blunt


Readings to be announced


Second  hour: Sustainable development



Dernbach Stumbling Towards Sustainability, Chapter 1

Franceschi and Kahn, Beyond Strong Sustainability

Pearce and Warford, World Without End

Kahn and Rivas, The Sustainable Economic Development of the Indigenous and Traditional Peoples


Third Hour:     presentation of first case study-- Country profile

You are required to prepare a profile of a country as if you were briefing an important government official in the US. In this profile you should give basic socio-economic and political information about the country, and a brief summary of its major environment-growth conflicts. If you are from a developing country, you must chose a country different from your home country. You have 12 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for questions and answers. This sort of very short report is typical for high level briefs.


Class 3: (April 28)

continue with sustainability presentations



second half: finish country profiles by students


Class 4: (April 30)

first half-presentation of country profiles

second half-water




Denbach, chapters 9 and 10

Casey Brown and Upmanu Lall

World Health Organization


first half: sustainable forest management and discussion of incentive instruments





Class 5: (May 5)



Continue with water discussion


Begin macro economics and the environment


first half: Trade and the Environment, Development Assistance,

Dernbach, Stumbling Towards Sustainability, chapters  5-7

Frankel and Rose, Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality

Kahn, The Economics Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources




Class 6: (May 7)


water presentations


begin forestry discussion



Kahn, The Development of Markets and Market Incentives for Sustainable Forestry: Application to the Brazilian Amazon,


Kahn and McDonald, Third World Debt and Tropical Deforestation

Kahn and Rivas, Road Building and Environmental Preservation in Amazonia: Turning an Environmental Liability into an Environmental Asset



third presentation: Look at Forest management in a developing country and how forests are or are not contributing to sustainable development. Look at causes of deforestation, value-added in the forest industry, and policy. Suggest alternative policies for improving the social benefits arising from forests.


Make-up class: Monday May 11 B hour in Huntley 301


Class 7: (May 12)


deforestation continued




first half: local and indigenous populations

Freitas, Kahn and Rivas,

Kahn and Rivas


Second half: Third case study


This case study will be with a partner and you have twice the time for your presentation. Do a case study of a trade, development and the environment. To what extent will the trade lead to development? Focus on market failures and discuss how these market failures have or should be addressed. Also examine distributional issues and how these inequities have or should be addressed.


make-up class, Wednesday May 13 B hour Huntley 301


Class 8: (May 14)


Deforestation presentations


Class 9:  May 19 (Professor Kahn at conference)


Class 10: May 21


Global Climate change


Global Climate change and the developing world

IPCC report


Kahn and Franceschi


Begin Case study four: Look at the impact of global climate change on a developing country. How is this likely to limit development options (be specific, not general) ? What strategies are available for reducing the impact of global climate change in your choice country. Individual, 20 minute presentation.




Class 11: May 26


Present case study four


I am still working on the syllabus below this point.


Agriculture and the environment.


readings to be announced


Case study five:


This case study is on a topic of your choice. The topic does not have to appear on the course outline, for example, you could chose to focus on mining and the environment, the environment and malaria, etc. Your discussion needs to utilize some of the analytical tools that we have developed in this course. You will have 30 minutes to present this topic including discussion.


irst half:  Energy and the environment


readings: to be announced


second half: Case study fouró These are 20 minute presentations with five minutes for discussion Do a profile on a particular energy source in a particular developing country. To what extent is this energy source feasible for sustainable development? How can policy reduce the social costs of this energy source? How can this energy source contribute to sustainable development.



Class 12: May 28




Continue case studies


Class 12: May 28 or May 30


Continue case studies







Water Resources: