The primary goal of this class is to learn the tools and concepts necessary for economic analysis of a variety of environmental, natural resource, and agricultural issues, particularly with regard to environmental and resource use aspects of food production and consumption. Throughout the semester, we will be addressing a broad range of problems and issues in the context of microeconomic theory and methods. Microeconomics is the social science that deals with balancing our (seemingly unlimited) wants and needs within the limitations of our personal, social, and natural environments. It therefore provides useful frameworks for considering issues such as our use of land; how we invest in protecting the quality of our air, water, and soil; the impact of our food production decisions on other species; how food consumption decisions intersect with environmental concerns; and the effect of climate change on food production. A recurring topic in this class will be on why and when markets fail to ensure the quality of our environment, as well as how collective action, institutions, and market forces can be used to help address these failures.
This course is required for AFE students and is recommended for any Friedman student with an interest in economic aspects of the food/environment interface.