Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics and Policy

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to introduce students to the economics of natural resources in agriculture and the related policies. Emphasis will be given to the economics of nonrenewable and renewable resources in agriculture, agricultural externalities, the trade-off between innovation, productivity and environmental quality and issues related water, land use and to agricultural resource policy.
A focus will be devoted to the economic, environmental and policy dimensions and linkages related to the management of water resource and its sustainable use in agriculture.
The final part of the course will be focused on bioeconomy and circular economy, providing a comprehensive view on principles, objectives, actions and innovative potential of these two timely and sustainable economic approaches. The current policy context for both the bio- and circular economy at the European level will be examined.
Expected learning outcomes
The course will prepare students to employ economic principles to assess the role played by natural resources in agriculture and to evaluate policy measures aimed at improving economic efficiency, social welfare and sustainability. The course aims to provide the basic elements of the water economy to understand the economic and social processes of the right to water and for a sustainable consumption of water resource. At the end of the course, students will acquire knowledge on the underlying bases of bio- and circular economic processes, on their most prominent issues and criticalities, as well as on the major opportunities that could be derived from a systemic perspective.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
If it is not possible to carry out the lectures in the classroom, these will be held in synchronous online mode, through the Microsoft Teams platform. The lessons held synchronously will be recorded and made available on the Ariel website of the course. Depending on the availability of the classrooms, there will also be moments of exchange/ review and answer to students' questions, in presence.
Course syllabus
The economics of nonrenewable and renewable resources in agriculture and the analysis of agricultural externalities. The economics of agricultural resources and processes such as land use, input use and genetic resources. The interaction between technological innovation, productivity and environmental quality. The role of agricultural policies in the management of natural resources. Agricultural resource policy analysis
The global water scenario. Increasing water demand vs water availability reduction. Adapting to climate variability and change. Sustainable water consumption. The water footprint. Calculation of the green, blue and grey water footprint. Economic value of water resources. Water and natural capital. Elements of water pricing.
Bioeconomy and circular economy: use of biological resources for conversion into bio-based products and energy. Circularity of consumable and durable products. Eco-design and end-of-waste. Interactions and synergies among bio- and circular economy.
Prerequisites for admission
Microeconomics and Environmental economics are strongly recommended.
Teaching methods
The teaching is based on formal lessons (in presence or on-line modality), as well as on the presentation and discussion of specific empirical studies (papers) related to the different topics of the course; classroom exercises (in presence or on-line modality) can be based on specific homework assigned by the teacher.
Teaching Resources
A. Carlson, David Zilberman and John A. Miranowski (1993). Agricultural and Environmental Resource Economics, Oxford University Press, New York.
Antonelli, M., Greco, F. (2015). The water we eat. Combining virtual water and water footprint. Springer,
WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme) (2015). The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. Paris, UNESCO.
Reports, papers and slides provided during classes, lecture notes.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final test is an oral exam aimed at evaluating the acquisition of course contents and at testing the ability of applying it to case studies concerning the main issues faced in the course
Lessons: 64 hours
by appointment
Department of Environmental Science and Policy (Via Celoria, 2; 3rd floor)