Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Every other year

This seminar explores selected themes in ecological economics, which is both the economics of sustainability as well as a paradigmatic approach distinct from  mainstream neoclassical economics.

We will use the first several weeks of the term to define and outline ecological economics. We will use the remainder of the term to explore relevant current topics; possible themes include

  • climate change,
  • fossil fuels and renewable energy,
  • green technology and investment,
  • ecosystem conservation (ecosystem services, payment for ecosystem services),
  • biophysical constraints to economic growth (technological optimism/pessimism, the precautionary principle, rebound effects and Jevon’s Paradox),
  • sociocultural impacts of economic growth (consumption, happiness studies),
  • system dynamics (steady state economy, critical transitions in complex systems, resiliency),
  • common pool resources (fisheries, climate, forests),
  • measurement issues (growth versus development, ecological footprint, Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare),
  • political economy and political ecology (land grabbing, violence),
  • methodological issues (post-normal science, transdisciplinarity),
  • institutional arrangements, trade and development (embodied trade in energy and water, pollution havens),
  • community sustainability (localization, commoning),
  • philosophical issues (Buddhist economics, Gandhian economics, homo economicus, feminist economics), and
  • degrowth.

Evaluation will be via four short essays, a final poster presentation, and classroom engagement.


One term of economics or permission of instructor.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.