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UNA016 - Environmental policy instruments  
Miljöpolitiska styrmedel
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-21 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPTSE
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Energy and Environmental Systems and Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 28113
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: C

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0105 Examination 6,0c Grading: TH   6,0c   21 Mar 2020 am H   24 Aug 2020 pm J
0205 Examples class 1,5c Grading: UG   1,5c    

In programs

MPTSE INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)
TSLOG SHIPPING AND LOGISTICS, Year 3 (compulsory elective)


Thomas Sterner

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UNA015   Environmental policy instruments


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic knowledge in environmental science or environmental engineering. Preferably some prior knowledge of economics.


This course is intended to give an overview of applied environmental economics with particular emphasis on the design of policies in the area of environmental and natural resource management.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • describe and analyze how environmental policy instruments work;
  • describe the influence of a certain policy instrument both on incentives for technical change and on the distribution of costs in connection to environmental improvement;
  • in a professional role, relate to the political game around policies and be prepared for pressure that different firms or other polluters can use to accomplish their agenda concerning policy choices.
  • evaluate how policies should be selected and designed so as to meet not only the criteria of efficiency but also of equity, political feasibility and other criteria.
  • Develop the ability to shift perspectives on fairness so that they can understand how decision makers in other parts of the world view issues of distribution and feasibilty and how this can be combined with an economic analysis of efficiency. The student can problematize around how to combine efficiency and feasibilty in the design of e.g. international climate agreements. 


The course will give an overview of why economic policies are needed in the area of pollution and resource management as well as a survey of the policy instruments that are available. It will also explain theories of policy selection and design.
Considerable attention will be paid to integrating economic modeling with actual issues in real economies. The course will be based on Sterner and Coria (2012). Principles for a fair distribution of the global responsibility that is being negotiated in the international climate negotiations is brought up through a perspective shifting exchange with students from other parts of the world.


We strive to use exciting and modern teaching methods in this course. We use case studies and exercises without abandoning traditional material such as articles and a textbook. Much of the lecture material is "flipped", i.e., the students watch short clips as a complement to reading before coming to class, and the understanding of the covered material will then be deepened in the classroom through the use of discussions, group work, quizzes, exercises and other pedagogical tools. A portable computer or a mobile phone are required to do the quizzes in class. We also aim to do an exercise that is carried out in collaboration with students from developing countries or emerging market economies about climate change burden sharing.


Sterner, T. and J. Coria (2012). Policy instruments for environmental and natural resource management. Second Edition. Resources for the Future, Routledge Taylor& Francis Group. Additional articles.

Examination including compulsory elements

Examination of the course will include one written exam accounting for 80% of the marks given and one group exercise accounting for the rest.

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.