Spring Course Descriptions

ENVP U8213-U8216 Microeconomics and Policy Analysis I and II
This two-semester course shows students that it is both possible and useful to think about public policy rigorously to see what assumptions work; to understand how formal models operate; to question vagueness and clich├ęs; and to make sophisticated ethical arguments. An important goal of the class is to have students work in groups to apply microeconomic concepts to current public policy issues having to do with urban environmental and earth systems.

The course includes problem sets designed to teach core concepts and their application. In the spring semester, the emphasis is on the application of concepts to analyze contemporary policy problems. Some time is also devoted to international trade and regulation, and industrial organization issues. Students not only learn microeconomic concepts, but also how to explain them to decision-makers. Student groups take on specific earth system policy issues, analyze options through the use of microeconomic concepts, and then make oral presentations to the class.

ENVP U8201 Financial Management
The course provides an introduction to budgeting and financial control as a means of influencing the behavior of public organizations. Concepts include the budget process and taxation, intergovernmental revenues, municipal finance, bonds, control of expenditures, purchasing, debt management, productivity enhancement, and nonprofit finance. Students learn about the fiscal problems that managers typically face, and how they seek to address them. Students also gain experience in conducting financial analysis and facility with spreadsheet programs.
Case materials utilize earth systems issues as well as other policy issues. A computer lab section is an essential aspect of the course, as it teaches students to use spreadsheet software to perform practical exercises regarding the budgeting and financial management of a hypothetical state environmental agency.

ENVP U9232 The Workshop in Applied Earth Systems Policy Analysis
In the spring semester, new groups are formed to undertake analytic projects for real-world clients in government and nonprofit agencies. These teams, working under the supervision of faculty members, write a report analyzing an actual environmental policy or management problem faced by their clients. Again, projects selected will be relevant to the cohort’s two earth systems problem themes.