363-0552-00L  Economic Growth and Resource Use

SemesterFrühjahrssemester 2021
DozierendeC. Karydas
Periodizitätjährlich wiederkehrende Veranstaltung
LehrspracheEnglisch


KurzbeschreibungThe 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.
LernzielThe 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.
InhaltWhy 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.

After the last lecture of each of the three modules students will be handed out an exercise set which will be submitted by the beginning of the following week’s lecture. That lecture will be an exercise session where we will discuss the solutions in class. Each exercise set will be graded. The average grade from the best two exercise sets will account for 25% of the final grade; the rest 75% will be determined by a written exam.
SkriptLecture Notes of the course will be sent by email to officially subscribed students.
LiteraturThe 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.
Voraussetzungen / BesonderesKnowledge 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.