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June 9, 2009
Source: Piedmont 2008

Klumpp, Tilman
Economics

2008

Project Summary

I taught this course in Spring 2008 for the first time. At that time the course had a substantial sustainability component to it already, stemming from the fact that sustainability is inherently an economic concecpt: Many common definitions of the term “sustainability” incorporate the classical focus on efficiency (“how to best use scarce resources?”) as well as allow a focus on equity and distribution (“what is a fair outcome?”). Both lie at the center of public economics, and both motivate policy. The course is therefore built around these centers, and explores them using both abstract models as well as concrete applications. The course changed somewhat for Spring 2009, as it was turned into a seminar and received a writing requirement (indicated by the SWR tag behind the course number). This led me to make a few revisions. Most importantly, I gave the students almost complete choice over their writing topic as long as it was related to public policy and had some economic thought to it. About 8 students wrote on topics directly related to environmental sustainability, and presented their work in the last class. Another 8 or so students wrote on topics that can be viewed within a broader sustainability frame (for example, two students wrote on recent microcredit markets to help entrepreneurs in developing nations). I found most students to be enthusiastic about their papers. Some turned in truly wonderful pieces, and a handful of students conducted original research. All who presented gave visually stunning presentations. Overall I’ve been very pleased with the outcome. Attached is the syllabus for this course, as well as the final schedule of presentations. Please note that presentations were voluntary and so not all papers are included. Nonetheless, the scheduled should convey a sense of the depth and breadth of topics chosen by the students.




Download: Klumpp.pdf (66.8 KB)


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