Evgenij Komarov: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2023

Name Dr. Evgenij Komarov
Energie- und Klimawirtschaft
ETH Zürich, ZUE F 10
Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 633 83 03
DepartmentManagement, Technology, and Economics

363-0552-00LEconomic Growth and Resource Use3 credits2GE. Komarov
AbstractThe course deals with the factors that contribute to economic development. Throughout the course theoretical economic modelling will be used to discuss the effects of factors – such as land, human/physical capital, technology, fossil energy resources, and climate change – on economic growth and to draw conclusions for the future.
ObjectiveThe general objective of the course is to provide students tools and intuition to:

i) think in a structured way – though economic modelling – about the factors that have lead to the different growth experiences among countries, and still shape our contemporary situation;
ii) assess and design policies on the basis of economic development;
iii) draw conclusions for the future of economic development, that take into account prevalent issues such as the scarcity of fossil energy resources and climate change.
ContentWhy is economic growth worth studying? Which are the factors behind economic growth? What is the role of natural resources in shaping economic development? Is our finite planet able to support sustainable long-term economic growth? Economics aims at explaining human behaviour; how do we model it and how can we steer it for the better? How do you design an efficient economic policy for a sustainable future? What is sustainable anyway? These are some of the questions you will learn to answer in this course.

After spending the first lecture on overviewing the course, and the second lecture on building our mathematical and economic foundation, we begin with the three main modules that comprise this course.

The first module – called “Land and Economic Growth” – deals with the historical evolution of the factors behind economic development from the pre-industrial times to our modern growth experiences. By studying the history of economic growth, we understand change and how the society we live in came to be. In this module we will develop economic models that capture the transition from an era of miniscule economic growth that persisted for millennia before the industrial revolution – with land and human labour as the main inputs to economic activity – to our modern growth experience where the continuous improvement in technology and services is our status quo.

The second module – called “Non-Renewable Resources and Growth” – deals with the problem of optimal exploitation of non-renewable resources, as well as with the issue of “Resource Curse” – i.e., the observed negative relationship between economic development and resource abundance. Emerging in the 1970s due to two oil crises, the problem of the economy’s extreme dependence on fossil and depletable energy resources sparked a great deal of research to guide our way forward. Some important questions we will formally answer in this module are the following. How do we optimally exploit a given stock of a non-renewable resource? What affects the prices of non-renewable resources? If fossil energy sources – a (so far) important input to production – are getting ever depleted, is long-term growth possible? How do we explain the “Resource Curse” and what are the policies that allow a sustainable future in countries that suffer from such a curse?

The third module – called “Climate Change and Growth” – deals with the pressing problem of our changing climate. Greenhouse gas emissions – so far essential for economic activity – accumulate in the atmosphere and alter environmental patterns. This phenomenon – commonly known as climate change – is responsible for the increase in the frequency and the intensity of natural disasters, which damage our stocks of capital and put a drag on economic growth. To derive appropriate policies for a sustainable future, we will incorporate these aspects in workhorse models of the economics and finance literature. Students will learn how to derive and set the “correct” price on the use of polluting energy resources from the perspective of policy-makers. Additionally, pricing of climate change risks for financial markets is important, both for individual investors and central banks, as it is they who provide liquidity to firms to pursue their long-term growth targets. Accordingly, we will close the lecture with the pricing of climate change risks from an investor’s perspective.
LiteratureThe main reference of the course is the set of lecture notes; students will also be encouraged to read some influential academic articles dealing with the issues under study.

The course is self-contained and only material that was discussed in the lecture will be relevant for the exam.
Prerequisites / NoticeKnowledge of basic calculus (differentiation - integration) and basic statistics (e.g. what is an expectation; variance-covariance) is considered as a prerequisite. Elementary knowledge of dynamic systems analysis, optimal control theory and economic theory is a plus but not a prerequisite.
364-0576-00LAdvanced Sustainability Economics Information
PhD course, open for MSc students
3 credits3GE. Komarov, C. Renoir
AbstractThe course covers current resource and sustainability economics, including ethical foundations of sustainability, intertemporal optimisation in capital-resource economies, sustainable use of non-renewable and renewable resources, pollution dynamics, population growth, and sectoral heterogeneity. A final part is on empirical contributions, e.g. the resource curse, energy prices, and the EKC.
ObjectiveUnderstanding of the current issues and economic methods in sustainability research; ability to solve typical problems like the calculation of the growth rate under environmental restriction with the help of appropriate model equations.

Please note that the course takes places in Zurichbergstrasse 18, which requires an ETH card to enter. We kindly ask Non-ETH students to inform
Clément Renoir if they would like to attend.