Economics of Environmental Crimes (not offered)

ENE465 Economics of Environmental Crimes (not offered)

Spring 2024

  • Topics

    This course consists of two parts. The first part examines the economic drivers of illegal and harmful environmental activities, with a focus on deforestation and resource extraction in developing countries. Such drivers include agricultural production, corruption, civil conflict, and infrastructural development. The second part evaluates and quantify the impacts of various policies designed to fight these environmental crimes, such as the use of zoning and the REDD+ performance-based payment schemes to fight deforestation.

  • Learning outcome

    The course will enable students to be familiar with applied methods in economics for causal inference as well as techniques in utilizing spatial data.

    After completing the course, students can:


    • have knowledge about policy implications on the research done on these topics
    • use and understand various analytical approaches for uncovering causal relationships between policy designs and economic outcomes on these topics


    • analyze the strengths and weaknesses of existing empirical approaches
    • identify relevant sources of data and use statistical tools to produce descriptive statistics
    • formulate a research proposal and describe the empirical strategy to be executed

    (general competence)

    • communicate their understanding and critical analysis of existing research designs and results

  • Teaching

    Monday: Lectures

    Tuesday: Lectures

    Wednesday: Lectures

    Thursday: Student group work and activity

    Friday: Student presentations (critical analysis of existing research)

  • Required prerequisites

    Basic insight in microeconomics and statistics

  • Compulsory Activity

    Full attendance of lectures and student presentations.

  • Assessment

    • Group presentation in class (40%)
    • Individual research proposal (60%), due 2 weeks after course end

    Students are expected to work on the group presentations and research proposal during the week outside of lectures.

  • Grading Scale


  • Literature

    *Alix-Garcia, J., K. R.E. Sims, and Patricia Yañez-Pagans (2015). ``Only One Tree from Each Seed? Environmental Effectiveness and Poverty Alleviation in Mexico's Payments for Ecosystem Services Program,'' American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 7(4): 1-40.

    *Assunção, J., C. Gandour, and R. Rocha. (2015). "Deforestation Slowdown in the Brazilian Amazon: Prices or Policies?" Environment and Development Economics, 20(6): 697-722.

    Barbier, E.B., and J. C. Burgess (2001). The Economics of Tropical Deforestation,¿ Journal of Economic Surveys, 15(3): 413-433.

    *Brady, W. A., W. K. Smith, D. Twidwell, J. H. Haggerty, S. W. Running, D. E. Naugle, and S. D. Fuhlendorf. (2015). Ecosystem Services Lost to Oil and Gas in North America,¿ Science, 348(6233): 401-402.

    *Burgess, R., M. Hansen, B. A. Olken, P. Potapov, and S. Sieber (2012). The Political Economy of Deforestation in the Tropics, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127 (4): 1707-1754

    *Butt, N., H. L. Beyer, J. R. Bennett, D. Biggs, R. Maggini, M. Mills, A. R. Renwick, L. M. Seabrook, H. P. Possingham. (2013). Biodiversity Risks from Fossil Fuel Extraction, Science, 342:425-426.

    Chomitz, K.M., and D. A. Gray (1996). Roads, Land Use and Deforestation: A Spatial Model Applied to Belize,¿ World Bank Economic Review, 10(3): 487-512.

    *Cropper, M., J. Puri, and C. Griffiths (2001). Predicting the Location of Deforestation: The Role of Roads and Protected Areas in North Thailand, Land Economics, 77(2): 172-186

    *Hansen, M.C., P.V. Potapov, R. Moore, M. Hancher, S. A. Turubanova, A. Tyukavina, D. Thau, S V. Stehman, S. J. Goetz, T. R. Loveland, A. Kommareddy, A. Egorov, L. Chini, C. O. Justice, and J. R. G. Townshend (2013). High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st- Century Forest Cover Change, Science, 342(6160): 850-853.

    Nepstad, D., D. McGrath, C. Stickler, A. Alencar, A. Azevedo, B. Swette, T. Bezerra, M. DiGiano, J. Shimada, R. Seroa da Motta, E. Armijo, L. Castello, P. Brando, M.C. Hansen, M. McGrathHorn, O. Carvalho, and L. Hess (2014). ``Slowing Amazon Deforestation through Public Policy and Interventions in Beef and Soy Supply Chains,'' Science, 110(13): 4956- 4961.

    Pfaff, A., J. Robalino, E. Lima, C. Sandoval, and L.D. Herrera (2014). ``Governance, Location and Avoided Deforestation from Protected Areas: Greater Restrictions Can Have Lower Impact, Due to Differences in Location,'' World Development, 55:7-20.

    *Skole, D.L., and C.J. Tucker (1993). ``Tropical Deforestation and Habitat Fragmentation in the Amazon: Satellite Data from 1978 to 1988,'' Science, 260:1905-1910.

    *Note: Required readings for the course.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language


Course responsible

Assistant professor Po Yin Wong, Department of Economics