Rachael Garrett: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2023

Name Dr. Rachael Garrett
DepartmentEnvironmental Systems Science
RelationshipAssistant Professor (Tenure Track)

701-1653-00LPolicy and Economics of Ecosystem Services3 credits2GR. Garrett
AbstractThe course addresses ecosystem services, their value for society, the causes of their degradation, the stakeholders involved in their provision and use, and policies to reduce their degradation. One focus is on environmental economics approaches, highlighting their potential and limitations. During the spring of 2023 this course will focus on these issues through the case of the Brazilian Amazon.
ObjectiveStudents can describe, analyse and explain
• the basic concepts used to describe ecosystem services provision and management;
• the basic social and natural science theory underlying ecosystem service degradation,
• the role and characteristics of different key stakeholders involved in ecosystem services management, including their different value systems;
• the different types of policy instruments and institutional arrangements that can be used for improved ecosystem services management and provision; and
• empirical tools to assess the performance of various policy instruments and management systems for ecosystem services provision, and to investigate the factors of success or failure of different policy instruments
Content*Please note, that due to the course instructor being located in the United Kingdom, this course is condensed into six 4 hour lectures on Friday mornings. There is a chance that one or two lectures may take place online due to unforeseen circumstances.

Many of the world's ecosystem services are being degraded or used unsustainably, which has considerable impacts on human well-being. Various aspects need to be taken into account to change this development, to work towards improved ecosystem services management and to design appropriate policy instruments and institutional contexts. First, the societal value of different ecosystem services and the trade-offs between them needs to be assessed.

Second, an assessment of the causes of excessive ecosystem services degradation is needed. Potential causes include the presence of externalities and public goods, improperly designed property rights systems, divergence of private and social discount rates, and lack of information and knowledge. Third, we need to understand the drivers of human decision-making in relation to ecosystem services use. Fourth, choosing an appropriate policy instrument (or a combination thereof) requires an understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of different instruments, their preconditions for success and the political economy of their implementation.

Finally, it is important to assess the actual impacts of different policy and management options. This requires a careful assessment of appropriate baselines, of the situation after a policy or management change, and of the various stakeholder groups involved, etc. To address all these issues, we will first work with some broad conceptual issues and theories relevant to this field and then deepen our understanding through reading and assignments focused on the case of the Brazilian Amazon.
Lecture notesLecture notes, homework exercises and readings will be made available on Moodle.
LiteratureThere is no single textbook for this class. Instead, a number of texts will be distributed and used during the lecture, and some texts for further reading will be indicated.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course consists of a combination of lectures, homework assignments and discussions in small groups. The final grade will be based on the homework assignments, class participation, and a group project.
Students are expected to be familiar with basic environmental economics' concepts such as externality, public good, market failure, opportunity cost, social optimum and market equilibrium, the basic types of policy instruments, and methods of policy analysis. Students with no background in environmental economics, policy analysis, or econometrics will find the course more difficult as many of the papers we read come from these fields.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkfostered
Leadership and Responsibilityfostered
Self-presentation and Social Influence assessed
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingfostered
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsfostered
Self-awareness and Self-reflection fostered
Self-direction and Self-management fostered
860-0100-00LDoctoral Colloquium in Public Policy
Only PhD students. Permission from lecturers is required.
1 credit1KM. Krauser, T. Bernauer, R. Garrett, T. Schmidt, B. Steffen
AbstractIn this colloquium, doctoral students present their research plan within the first year of their doctorate, which is reviewed by three professors affiliated with the ISTP and commented on by the peer students registered in the colloquium. We recommend attending the colloquium for two semesters and present the research plan in the second semester.
ObjectiveObtain feedback on research ideas the doctoral research plan and have the research plan approved by three faculty, as required by ETH Zurich.
ContentDoctoral students (typically affiliated with the ISTP or groups of ISTP members) attend this colloquium for one to two semesters. During the first (voluntary) semester they present their preliminary research ideas. During the second (obligatory) semester, they present their research plan, which is reviewed by three professors affiliated with the ISTP. The research plan should not be longer than 20 pages (references excluded). The second semester will be credited with 1 ECTS. All students are supposed to read and comment on their peers’ research ideas and plans throughout both semesters. The results of the review are submitted to the doctoral committee of D-GESS or other ETH departments where ISTP-affiliated doctoral students intend to graduate.