Spring 2017 Course: Water Resource Economics

Spring 2017 Course: Water Resource Economics

Spring Course Announcement! The course is designed for graduate students with backgrounds in public policy, engineering, hydrology, marine affairs or forestry that are interested in learning how economic tools can be applied to water resources policy. Students will gain familiarity with the basic economic insights into water scarcity problems, including static and dynamic efficiency for consumers and producers. We will discuss water pricing, economic analysis of large infrastructure projects, groundwater management, and techniques for measuring the demand for water in the agricultural, environmental, municipal and industrial sectors. Examples used in class will be drawn primarily from the Western US with some international applications.

WATER RESOURCE ECONOMICS: Evans School of Public Policy 547

This course will explore the economics of water resources. Students will gain familiarity with the basic economic insights into water resources problems, including static and dynamic efficiency for consumers and producers. We will discuss water pricing (including both municipal and irrigation), and cover techniques for measuring water demand. The course will primarily cover topics concerned with water quantity; students interested in topics of water quality and pollution control are encouraged to take PbAf 594 (Economic Approaches to Environmental Management).

Overview:


  • PubPol 547
  • Professor Joe Cook (jhcook@u.washington.edu)
  • T,Th 10:30 -11:50
  • 4 credits
  • Graduate Students Only
  • SLN 18942

Course Goals


  • Define and apply to a water resource problem the following economic concepts: static efficiency, dynamic efficiency, Pareto optimality, discounting and the rate of time preference, benefit-cost analysis, opportunity costs, marginality, and public goods
  • Analyze optimal water use (from a consumer perspective), and optimal water supply (from a producer perspective) using simple optimization approaches
  • Use spreadsheets to illustrate demand and supply functions, and to solve basic problems of water allocation, pricing, and policy analysis
  • Describe different institutions and legal frameworks for allocating surface and ground water
  • Apply several different techniques for measuring water demand
  • Discuss the economic logic behind the use of water markets, banks and leases for addressing scarcity, as well as the limitations and constraints to their use
  • Describe pricing practices currently being used in municipal and agricultural systems, and suggest ways in which these could be improved (using economic logic).

Prerequisites


Graduate students only. Although the course does not assume any background in economics, it does assume a level of comfort with quantitative approaches. The class will be taught with a moderate amount of elementary calculus. Anyone with one college-level course in calculus should be more than prepared, and I will hold an optional calculus tutorial session at the beginning of the term. Please contact me with questions about the calculus content.

For more Information


For more information, contact Prof. Joe Cook jhcook@u.washington.edu