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ECO3030 Sustainable Economies

Semester 1, 2011 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business
School or Department : School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Contents on this page


Examiner: Khorshed Alam
Moderator: Geoff Cockfield


The tremendous improvements in our standards of living during the twentieth century are the fruits of economic growth. However, when considering environmental and other costs associated with growth, the question being raised is: are there limits to economic growth? Many believe that this is not an either/or choice; rather a balance between environment and development is both possible and is happening. Countries do not have to abandon their development potentials to preserve the environment. In fact economic development is essential to maintaining our standards of living. The notion of sustainable economies allows economic development not based on the exploitation of natural resources and the environment in a way that cannot be sustained. Policies and strategies can be designed and implemented to improve economic efficiency, and thus promote economic development, minimise adverse environmental effects and internalise the externalities into the decision making process.


This course introduces students to a way of thinking about environmental problems and achieving sustainable economic development, based on economic principles. The course provides a background to the study of resource and environmental economics by putting it in the context of economy-environment interdependence and sustainability concerns, and the fundamental characteristics of an economic approach to environmental problems and their assessment. Both macro and microeconomic principles and their application are covered, as is the essence of economic perspectives. Both regulatory and market-based approaches are explored in an effort to protect natural resources and improve environmental quality. General emphasis is placed upon the improvement of economic welfare through the application of economic principles in the search for sustainable economic development.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. explain the use of economic principles and policies in the achievement of sustainable economies
  2. understand the basic economic concepts and the analytical tools for dealing with environmental and natural resource issues and demonstrate problem-solving skills through their targeted application
  3. understand the working and effects of the price system, regulatory and market-based incentives, and economic valuation, impact assessment and appraisal methods
  4. discuss the conditions for and requirements of sustainable economies
  5. demonstrate academic and professional literacy skills through the comprehension, critical analysis and application of set texts to serve a designated purpose
  6. demonstrate written communication skills using appropriate conventions and structure.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to sustainable development and environmental economics 20.00
2. Modelling the market process 10.00
3. Requirements of sustainability: sustainable management of natural resources 20.00
4. Assessing sustainability: economic analysis of environmental mitigation strategies 20.00
5. Assessing sustainability: macroeconomic impacts 10.00
6. Economic growth, productivity and the environment 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Harris, JM 2006, Environmental and natural resource economics: a contemporary approach, 2nd edn, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts.
    (The Harris textbook has a very good supporting website at <> You will need to visit this site to download supplementary materials for particular sections of the course.)
  • Summers, J & Smith, B 2010, Communication skills handbook, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.
  • We will provide electronic copies of articles and chapters of books from outside of the prescribed text which you will need to read. These are referenced in each module.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Callan, SJ & Thomas, JM 2009, Environmental economics and management: theory, policy, and applications, 5th edn, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio.
  • Perman, R, Ma, Y, McGilvray, J & Common, M 2003, Natural resource and environmental economics, Pearson, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 81.00
Seminars 39.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives assessed Graduate skill Level assessed Notes
OVERVIEW PAPER 100 10 22 Apr 2011 1,2,3,4,5,6 U2,U3,U4,U9,U10 1,3,3,1,3
MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECT 100 40 20 May 2011 1,2,3,4,5,6 U2,U3,U4,U9,U10 3,3,3,2,3
EXAMINATION PART A 25 20 End S1 1,2,3,4,5,6 U2,U3,U4,U10 2,3,3,2 (see note 1)
EXAMINATION PART B 25 30 End S1 1,2,3,4,5,6 U2,U3,U4,U10 2,3,3,2

  1. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised. The total working time for Exam (Parts A and B) is 2 hours.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are English translation dictionaries (but not technical dictionaries).

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments: (i) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the examiner. (ii) Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This MUST be produced within 24 hours if required by the examiner. An electronic copy of assessment items may be requested. (iii) In accordance with university policy, the examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. (iv) The examiner will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media. (v) The examiner will not accept submission of assignments by facsimile. (vi) Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner to negotiate such special arrangements. (vii) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience.

  2. Course weightings: Course weightings of topics should not be interpreted as applying to the number of marks allocated to questions testing those topics in an examination paper.

  3. Make-up work: Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  4. Deferred work: Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

Other requirements

  1. Internet access: Students will require access to the Internet, or a library of academic standard for this course.