Energy, Environment and Sustainability

SAM20 Energy, Environment and Sustainability

Spring 2024

Autumn 2024
  • Topics

    Extraction of natural resources, such as energy resources, raw materials and land areas, have shaped some of the richest and some of the poorest economies in the world. How do resource extraction and the use of resource revenues vary across countries? Why are so many resource rich countries run by authoritarian regimes? Can the preservation of nature, reversal of climate change, and economic development be achieved simultaneously? What are the functioning of resource markets? The Norwegian economy, in addition to other economies, will be studied in some detail. SAM20 will address the following:

    • Climate risks: The consequences of climate change and associated policies, including for firms and countries involved in the production of hydrocarbons
    • Policies against climate change: Design of international climate policies and the green paradox
    • Sustainable Energy: renewable energy, the challenges renewable energy sources face, clean energy transition, global effort to accelerate the clean energy transition, the electricity market
    • The resource curse: associated macroeconomic policy challenges, including saving versus spending of resource revenues, the phasing-in of resource revenues and the so-called Dutch disease
    • Firms and resources: The behaviour of firms in the resource industries such as producers of minerals, precious metals, oil, electricity, or fish
    • Investments in resources across countries: The roles of institutions and taxation for exploration and production
    • Global markets: oil, gas and minerals
    • Sustainable management of renewable resources: the tragedy of commons and approaches to better resource use
    • Aquaculture: Fundamental idea of renewable resource harvest with property rights, and the overview of the industry
    • Norwegian approach to resource management: history and current challenges

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course, the student can:


    • describe the the energy sectors and energy markets, which will be crucial in achieving UN sustainability goals
    • explain how the electricity market operates, environmental aspects of renewable energy, and the challenges of clean energy transition
    • discuss sustainability, conceptually as well as specifically for resource rich economies and for some specific natural resources
    • discuss the central academic literature on the course topics
    • discuss analytical approaches typically applied to answer questions within these areas, including both theory and empirics
    • discuss popular policies within these areas


    • explain the relationships between energy, natural resources, economic development and the environment in a stringent and academic manner
    • assess firm behaviour in the resource industries, macroeconomic aspects of natural resource extraction, environmental aspects of the use of natural resources and how to prepare for various types of climate-related risks
    • extract relevant information from different sources, including data sources and international organizations
    • critically analyse academic literature
    • write and present an academic analysis as part of a team

    General competence

    • discuss and participate actively in an international environment
    • apply insights from economics on real-world challenges
    • identify different interests and trade-offs across groups, sectors, and countries.

  • Teaching

    Physical lectures, short papers, and physical student presentations. Students are expected to attend the presentations of other groups as well as the lectures.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Basic courses in microeconomics, such as SAM1 and SAM2 at NHH.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    Overlap with VOA051.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Three short papers: During the semester, students will in groups of 3 or 4 hand in three short papers (2 pages). The three submitted short papers fulfill compulsory activities (work requirements) and it is only valid in the semester it is submitted.

    The short papers must be written in English.

  • Assessment

    The course assessment has two elements:

    1) Oral group presentation of one of the three submitted short papers (30%).

    • Group size: 3-4.
    • ​Duration: 10 minutes presentation and 5 minutes for questions.

    2) Three hours individual written school exam (70%).

    The presentation and exam answer must be in English.

    Assessment is only offered in the teaching semester (autumn).

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A - F.

  • Literature

    Literature will be added during the course.

  • Permitted Support Material

    One bilingual dictionary (Category I)

    All in accordance with Supplementary provisions to the Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics Ch.4 Permitted support material


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2023.

Course responsible

Professor II Torfinn Harding, Department of Economics (course responsible)