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Environmental Economics (MSc Economics)

The study programme

The curriculum of the Environmental Economics track has focus on the economic analysis of environmental issues such as global warming, loss of biodiversity, pollution and exhaustion of natural resources. You will learn how to identify possible solutions and make an impact through strong policy design and valuable recommendations.

What is this Master's about?

Find out what our MSc Economics is about and why you should study it at the UvA.

The programme

Environmental Economics is one of the tracks of the MSc Economics. During your Master's you will follow 3 general courses and 3 track-specific courses. You will finish with a thesis. If you have excellent analytical and leadership abilities and it is your goal to use applied research to tackle complex real-life problems, you can participate in our Honours programme.

  • Compulsory courses


    In this course you will learn about modern macroeconomic models. You will learn how to use these models to explain and evaluate recent events and policy interventions. For example, the effect of uncertainty on savings, welfare and investment, the causes and nature of unemployment and inflation and the role of monetary and fiscal authorities. 

    Microeconomics and Game Theory

    In this course you will learn to understand the workings and limitations of the market. You will learn how to analyse consumer and producer behaviour and how to use basic game theory. The central question is: what can markets do and when do they fail? What determines the outcome, and how does that depend on market structure?

    Applied Econometrics

    In this course you will learn about regression analysis. In applied economics this is a powerful tool to analyse empirical relationships. You will learn how to interpret estimation and testing results and build a satisfactory empirical model. You will follow lectures and take part in lab sessions to acquire practical econometric skills by making computer exercises.


  • Track-specific courses

    Environmental Economics and Policies

    This course introduces you to the 2 main challenges of environmental economics: how to determine the right pollution targets to set, and how to achieve these targets. Special attention will be given to the choice of policy instruments, and to the challenges related to their implementation, such as coordination problems, distributional effects, public support, or the role of lobbies in decision-making.

    Natural Resource Economics

    You will be trained to think about the use and protection of natural resources. This includes reflecting on many key challenges such as the optimal extraction of a non-renewable resource, the effect of market power on resource depletion, the existence of a 'resource curse', as well as problems related to open-access to renewable resources and solutions for managing the 'commons'.

    Climate Change Economics

    You will learn how economic tools can be used to measure the impact of climate change and determine the best policies to combat it. Lectures will cover a wide range of topics, including the link between the economic and climate systems, methods used to discount the future, the risk of disasters and irreversibility, and many more.

  • Thesis

    The academic programme culminates in a thesis, which allows you to engage with state-of-the-art data analysis and statistical techniques. The Master’s thesis is the final requirement for your graduation. It is your chance to dive deep into a topic in your field of choice (track) that you are enthusiastic about, and allows you to do an independent research project. A professor of your track will supervise and support you in writing your thesis.

  • Honours programme

    If you are a student of the Economics MSc and you have a record of academic excellence, a critical mind and an enthusiasm for applied research, then our Economics Honours programme is a great opportunity for you.

    More about the Honours programme
Check more detailed information about the specific courses in the course catalogue
Real-life case: 'Green Deal' launch

Climate change and environmental degradation are growing threats that require a rapid and ambitious policy response. In order to coordinate actions at the European level, the European Commission has launched a 'Green Deal', a comprehensive investment plan to accelerate Europe's ecological transition and achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. It is Europe's 'Man on the moon moment', according to Ursula Von der Leyen. This unprecedented plan raises a number of questions for economists and policymakers. What are the most effective policies to achieve Europe's environmental target? Will these policies stimulate growth and employment or will they penalise the European economy? How can we ensure that this transition leaves no-one behind? How to generate broad support for ambitious policies?

Contemporary issues

Examples of current newspaper headlines and relevant issues that could be discussed in your classroom:

  • From scarce resources to climate change: do we have too much oil?
  • Technological progress and rebound effect: will digitalisation bring green growth?
  • Effectiveness, equity, and political feasibility: when should emission standards be preferred to emission taxes?
Copyright: Nee
This MSc perfectly blends my two passions: economics and policy analysis. It's a challenging programme, that teaches you hard and soft skills. Anouk Roethof Read about Anouk's experiences with this Master's
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