Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach, 4th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

A Contemporary Approach, 4th Edition

By Jonathan M. Harris, Brian Roach

© 2018 – Routledge

646 pages | 194 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138659476
pub: 2017-08-16
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Environmental issues are of fundamental importance, and a broad approach to understanding the relationship of the human economy and the natural world is essential. In a rapidly changing policy and scientific context, this new edition of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics reflects an updated perspective on modern environmental topics.

Now in its fourth edition, this book includes new material on climate change, the cost-competitiveness of renewable energy, global environmental trends, and sustainable economies. The text provides a balanced treatment of both standard environmental economics and ecological economics, based on the belief that these two approaches are complementary. Several chapters focus on the core concepts of environmental economics, including the theory of externalities, the management of public goods, the allocation of resources across time, environmental valuation, and cost-benefit analysis. Material on ecological economics includes such topics as macroeconomic scale, entropy, and "green" national accounting. Topical chapters focus on: energy; climate change; water resources; international trade; forests; fisheries; and agriculture, with an emphasis on designing effective policies to promote sustainability and a "green" economy.

Harris and Roach’s premise is that a pluralistic approach is essential to understand the complex nexus between the economy and the environment. This perspective, combined with its emphasis on real-world policies, is particularly appealing to both instructors and students. This is the ideal text for classes on environmental, natural resource, and ecological economics.


‘Since its first edition, this book has been celebrated as a kind of tour-de-force covering environmental and natural resource economics and providing the right balance between the neoclassical and ecological approaches. The fourth edition is clear, informative, appealing to students from the natural sciences, as well as those from social sciences, whilst its new chapters are the first comprehensive treatment of the post COP 21 world. It will be appreciated by all those concerned for the future of the planet.’ — Professor Alain Alcouffe, Toulouse University, France

‘The book is simply great! It is really one of a kind. It fills an important need in the field, which will become more and more important in the future, no doubt – integrating standard environmental economics and ecological economics. The book is very clear, very informative, flows very well, and indeed is written as a very interesting and fascinating story. The students like it. The additional materials that come with the book are also very good. In short, job well done!’ — Rafael Reuveny, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University

‘An important achievement. This is a carefully crafted textbook that should appeal to students from the natural sciences, as well as those from economics and other social sciences. The text covers a number of important topics that most texts neglect, including agricultural sustainability, the relationship between trade and the environment, and the role of local and national institutions in promoting environment-friendly development. The tone of the book is formal yet friendly, and the layout of text, tables, and figures is top notch. Each chapter includes numerous useful links to material on the worldwide web. This book should prove popular with students and instructors alike.’ — Gerald Shively, Purdue University, USA

‘This is the perfect introductory text covering environmental and natural resource economics. The production is first-rate - very clear and uncluttered, excellent diagrams and examples, well thought out discussion questions and problems. The choice and sequence of topics is excellent and the right balance between the neoclassical and ecological approaches has been provided. It is a most appealing text.’ — Professor Steven Kemp, Curtin University, Australia

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Changing Perspectives on the Environment

1. Overview of Environmental Issues

2. Economic Approaches to the Environment

3. Principles of Ecological Economics

4. A Look Ahead

Chapter 2: Resources, Environment, and Economic Development

1. Overview of Economic Growth

2. Economic Growth in Recent Decades

3. Environmental Trends in Recent Decades

4. Optimists and Pessimists

5. Sustainable Development



Chapter 3: The Theory of Environmental Externalities

1. The Theory of Externalities

2. Welfare Analysis of Externalities

3. Property Rights and the Environment

Appendix 3.1: Supply, Demand, and Welfare Analysis

Appendix 3.2: Externality Analysis: Advanced Material



Chapter 4: Common Property Resources and Public Goods

1. Common Property, Open Access, and Property Rights

2. The Environment as a Public Good

3. The Global Commons

Chapter 5: Resource Allocation Over Time

1. Allocation of Non-Renewable Resources

2. Hotelling’s Rule and Time Discounting

Chapter 6: Valuing the Environment

1. Total Economic Value

2. Overview of Valuation Techniques

3. Revealed Preference Methods

4. Stated Preference Methods

Chapter 7: Cost-Benefit Analysis

    1. Overview of Cost-Benefit Analysis
    2. Balancing the Present and Future: The Discount Rate
    3. Valuing Human Life
    4. Other Issues in Cost-Benefit Analysis
    5. Cost-Benefit Analysis Example
    6. Conclusion: The Role of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Environmental Policy Decisions

Appendix 7.1: Using Excel to Perform Present Value Calculations

Chapter 8: Pollution: Analysis and Policy

1. The Economics of Pollution Control

2. Policies for Pollution Control

3. The Scale of Pollution Impacts

4. Assessing Pollution Control Policies

5. Pollution Control Policies in Practice







Chapter 9: Ecological Economics: Basic Concepts

    1. An Ecological Perspective
    2. Natural Capital
    3. Issues of Macroeconomic Scale
    4. Long-Term Sustainability

Chapter 10: National Income and Environmental Accounting

1. Greening the National Income Accounts

2. Green GDP

3. Adjusted Net Saving

4. The Genuine Progress Indicator

5. The Human Development Index and the Better Life Index

6. Environmental Asset Accounts

7. The Future of Alternative Indicators

Appendix 10.1: Basic National Income Accounting




Chapter 11: Energy: The Great Transition

1. Energy and Economic Systems

2. Evaluation of Energy Sources

3. Energy Trends and Projections

4. Energy Supplies: Fossil Fuels

5. Renewable Energy Sources

6. The Economics of Alternative Energy Futures

7. Policies for the Great Energy Transition

Chapter 12: Global Climate Change: Science and Analysis

1. Causes and Consequences of Climate Change

2. Responses to Global Climate Change

3. Economic Analysis of Climate Change

Chapter 13: Global Climate Change: Policy Responses

1. Adaptation and Mitigation

2. Climate Change Mitigation: Economic Policy Options

3. Climate Change: The Technical Challenge

4. Climate Change Policy in Practice

5. Other Economic Proposals: Environment and Equity

6. Conclusion: Dimensions of Climate Change

Chapter 14: The Green Economy

1. The Green Economy: Introduction

2. The Relationship between the Economy and the Environment

3. Industrial Ecology

4. Does Protecting the Environment Harm the Economy? 5. Creating a Green Economy



Chapter 15: Population and the Environment

1. The Dynamics of Population Growth

2. Predicting Future Population Growth

3. The Theory of Demographic Transition

4. Population Growth and Economic Growth

5. Ecological Perspectives on Population Growth

6. Population Policies for the Twenty-First Century

Chapter 16: Agriculture, Food and Environment

1. Feeding the World: Population and Food Supply

2. Trends in Global Food Production

3. Projections for the Future

4. Agriculture’s Impact on the Environment

5. Sustainable Agriculture for the Future

Chapter 17: Resources: Scarcity and Abundance

1. The Supply of Non-Renewable Resources

2. Economic Theory of Non-Renewable Resource Use

3. Global Scarcity or Increasing Abundance?

4. Environmental Impacts of Mining

5. The Potential for Minerals Recycling

Chapter 18: Renewable Resource Use – Fisheries

1. Principles of Renewable Resource Management

2. Ecological and Economic Analyses of Fisheries

3. The Economics of Fisheries in Practice

4. Policies for Sustainable Fisheries Management

Chapter 19: Ecosystem Management – Forest Ecosystems

1. The Economics of Forest Management

2. Forest Loss and Biodiversity

3. Policies for Sustainable Forest Management

Chapter 20: Water Systems

1. Global Supply and Demand for Water

2. Addressing Water Shortages

3. Water Pricing

4. Water Rights, Water Markets, and Privatization

5. Water as Common Property Resource



Chapter 21: World Trade and the Environment

1. Environmental Impacts of Trade

2. Trade and Environment: Policy and Practice

3. Trade Agreements and the Environment

4. Strategies for Sustainable Trade

Chapter 22: Institutions for Sustainable Development

1. The Concept of Sustainable Development

2. The Economics of Sustainable Development

3. Reforming Global Institutions

4. New Goals and New Production Methods

5. Conclusion: Policies for Sustainable Development

About the Authors

Jonathan M. Harris is Director of the Theory and Education Program at the Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute, USA. His current research focuses on the implications of large-scale environmental problems, especially global climate change, for macroeconomic theory and policy.

Brian Roach is Senior Research Associate at the Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute and a lecturer at Tufts University and Brandeis University, USA. He has published numerous articles on non-market valuation of natural resources, including drinking water quality, water-based recreation, and wildlife.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics