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Environmental Resources Valuation

6 ECTS Padua Year 2 Semester 3 Compulsory Humanities


The aim of the course is to train students with a global vision in order to be able to work on the management and conservation of natural resources. Hence students will
acquire methodologies and survey tools in order to estimate economic value of environmental resources. The course will also focus on tools to manage the land and the environment. Empirical applications and case studies will be illustrated and discussed.

Topics covered in the course include:

  1. Principles of environmental economics. Economy-Environment interaction. The economic value of environmental resources: the Total Economic Value (use values and non uses values). Mainstreaming ecosystem services into everyday life. The Coase theorem. Market failure: public goods, externalities and Asymmetric information.
  2. Methods of valuation. Developing surveys: structure and data collection.
  3. Non-market valuation methods (I) Revealed Preference methods: 1) Hedonic Pricing (Hedonic price function); 2) Travel Cost (Single site and Multiple sites Travel cost). Theoretical aspects and case studies addressing empirical applications. Lab sessions with tutorials and data analysis.
  4. Non-market valuation methods (II) – Stated Preference methods: 1) Contingent Valuation; 2) Choice Experiments and Choice Modelling (Experimental design). Theoretical aspects and case studies addressing empirical applications. Lab sessions with tutorials and data analysis.
  5. Benefit Transfer. Theories and practice. Value transfers and function transfers.
  6. Lab Session: Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs – InVEST SW.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will acquire the following competences and skills:

  • understand relations between economics and environment, within a sustainability perspective
  • understand and identify the variety of natural resources classification and ecosystem services concerning their conservation and management;
  • understand underlying mechanisms of demand for public/environmental goods;
  • understand components of natural resources’ value;
  • being able to identify the variety of total economic value components of ecosystem services;
  • understand methodological approaches used within land planning and management;
  • understand non-market valuation methods for the estimation of total economic value of ecosystem services;
  • being able to estimate and quantify total economic value of ecosystem services and public goods
  • being able to make use of estimated environmental values by matching resource preservation and economic development;
  • being able to make use of scientific approach in order to analyze relations between environment conservation and management and land economic development.

Teaching and learning methods

A substantial part of the course will be devoted to data analysis by means of tutorials and computer session.

Teaching methods include:

– frontal lectures;

– class work including individual case-study analysis followed by class discussion, paper presentations;
– a field trip will be organized to address practical issues addressed during classes.

Teaching materials used in class and additional readings and media will be made available through the e-learning Moodle platform of the School.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written exam
  • Written test and oral presentation. A list of guiding questions is provided at the end of the course. Three different types of questions:

    • multiple choice questions;
    • open questions requiring short answers;
    • Illustration and description of figures/graphs with comments. Active class participation of students will be part of the final mark. An oral group presentation (Power Point or equivalent) on a published paper is required.

    Assessment criteria:

    • written exam: knowledge of the topics, ability to discuss them in a critical way and to understand logic relationships
    • participation: active attitude in lectures and during class exercises.


  • Location : Padua
  • ECTS granting : University of Padua
  • Organisation : University of Padua



Mara Thiene