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Land and Resource Economics
FRE 374
Instructor: Sumeeet Gulati
Office: McML 341
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Class Schedule: MWF 11:00 -11:50 AM
Classroom: MacMillan (MCML) 166
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Contacting me

  • Visit me during office hours.
  • Call me during my office hours.
  • Immediately after class: for quick questions.
  • Email: (slowest response): While writing emails make sure you have either ECON 374 or FRE 374 in the subject header or a spam filter might prevent your message from reaching me. I respond to my emails approximately once a workday. Usually, never on weekends or holidays.

Teaching Assistants

  • Sherry Guo

MCML 318
Office Hours: Wednesday 5:00–6:00 PM

  • Zachary Brode

Iona 335
Office Hours: Wednesday 4:00–5:00 PM


  1. An introductory level course in microeconomic theory.

Course Description

Why you should take this course?
Do you wonder why, our fish are severely over-exploited? Record numbers of known wildlife species are going extinct? We seem to care little about the long-run well being of our forests? Some cities sprawl, while others have high density? Or do you care about other similar questions? If you do, this course is for you.

What you will gain from this course?

  • An understanding of how we (collectively as a society) make decisions about our natural resources.
  • An objective analytical framework to evaluate our decisions, and improve them.

Together, we will build an analytical framework from simple economic principles. We will use it to define society’s optimal preservation of natural resources, and evaluate over-exploitation. We will then ask: why do we make sub-optimal decisions? There will be no single answer, but we will be able to identify significant issues. Is the market failing to do the optimal? When it comes to natural resources, the market often fails. What can we do to improve it? Based on the type of resource, we will study how policy can bring exploitation to optimal levels. We will not find definite solutions to the above questions. We will instead learn of some of the major economic explanations. If, at the end of this term, you can identify some of the economic reasons underlying natural resource decisions in the real world, this course would have achieved its objective.

Course Materials

Required Text: (you can buy the new or old text): Available at UBC Bookstore, and online. New Text: Barry C. Field (2016). “Natural Resource Economics: An Introduction”, Waveland Press Book Website:, either the new or old edition. Old Text: Barry C. Field (2001). “Natural Resource Economics: An Introduction”, McGraw-Hill
Online Course Material: Available at UBC Connect: You are required to regularly login to your course page for ECON/FRE 374. This syllabus, course-lecture slides, additional material, announcements, assignments, and grades can be accessed there. Clickers: (you can buy used or new): Available at the UBC bookstore.
We will use clickers throughout this course for in class questions, assigning participation grades, and for in class quizzes. More information at: You must register your clicker on vista so I can assign grades. Your ECON/FRE 374 Connect page has a clicker registration link. Use this link if you have not already registered your clicker for another course. Your must have a registered clicker by midnight, 12 AM, Monday, September 18th, 2017 (Sunday night). Your information will be downloaded to my computer after midnight. Clicker use in class starting Monday, September 18th will count towards your grade.

Assessment: How your grade will be determined

The philosophy for the assessment section is to allow you several means to get do well in this course. If you do not do too well on one particular test, or assignment you will have the opportunity to make it up in another.

You will be tested on: All material

  • Covered in class.
  • Material that I post in your course page on UBC Connect.

I will design questions to test an understanding of the material, and an ability to apply it.

Your grade will be determined as follows:

Assessment Tool Date or Other Information Percent of Grade
Midterm Friday, October 13th, 2017 30%
Best five Problem Sets Out of six assigned on Connect 20%
Best two in Class Quiz Out of three administered in class 15%
Class Participation Based on Clicker use in class 5%
Final Exam As per university exam schedule 30%
Total: 100%
  • One Midterm Examination: 30% of your grade.
  • Out of 6 Assignments: your 5 best scoring assignments will account for 20%. Please see the next page for your assignment schedule.
  • 3 in-class surprise quizzes: The best two scoring quizzes will account for 15% of your grade.
  • Class Participation: Based on your clicker use. If you attempt over 3/4th of the questions asked in a class, you will earn one participation point. These points will account for 5% of your total grade. I will not ask you to use the Clicker in each class. However, I will not know in advance if I might include questions using your Clicker. You should be carrying it all the time.
  • The Final Examination: 30%

Assignment Schedule (tentative)

Assignment Number Date Posted on Connect Due Date and Time
1 Friday, Sept 8th, 2017. 5 PM, Friday, Sept 15th, 2017.
2 Friday, Sept 22rd, 2017. 5 PM, Friday, Sept 29th, 2017.
3 Friday, Oct 6th, 2017. 5 PM, Friday, Oct 13th, 2017.
4 Friday, October 20th, 2017. 5 PM, Friday, Oct 27th, 2017.
5 Friday, Nov 3th, 2017. 5 PM, Friday, Nov 10th, 2017.
6 Friday, Nov 17th, 2017. 5 PM, Friday, Nov 24th, 2017.

Assignment solutions have to be uploaded on connect. Your solution should be on one portable document format (pdf) file. We cannot accept any other document format (yes this includes, text, word, or jpeg). The assignment schedule might change if necessary. I will announce changes in class and on connect as needed. Assignments submitted later than their due date and time will automatically receive a mark of zero without exceptions.

Information about your Exams All midterm and final exams will include only short answer questions. The final examination will be cumulative - i.e., the final will cover ALL content covered during the term.

The Registrar's Office will schedule the end of term exams for any time during the examination period. You have to ensure that you are available throughout that period.

The University accommodates students with disabilities who have registered with the Disability Resource Centre. The University also accommodates students whose religious obligations conflict with attendance or scheduled tests or exams. Please let the instructor know in advance if you will require any accommodation on these grounds. Other absences for varsity athletics, family obligations or other similar commitments are not part of University policy and students should not assume that they will be accommodated. If you have a pressing issue that conflicts with an exam, you should discuss this with your instructor as soon as possible. Refer to the UBC Calendar for details of ‘academic concession.’

Your unsurprising in-class quizzes: Will last for approximately 15 minutes. Will be entirely multiple choice and will be administered using your Clicker. These quizzes will cover anything covered in class including material taught that day itself.

  • QUIZ 1 can be on any of the following days: 25th, 27th, or 29th of September.
  • QUIZ 2 can be on any of the following days: Oct 30th, Nov 1st, or 3rd.
  • QUIZ 3 can be on any of the following days: Nov 27th, or 29th, or 1st of December.

Make-up Exams: It is important that everyone take the same exams under the same conditions for maximum fairness. I therefore do not give makeup exams unless you have a valid reason. If a midterm or final exam is missed for a legitimate reason, and a doctor's note or other verification is provided, a make-up exam will be permitted. You need to contact me as soon as possible for a missed exam.

Extra Credit: In this class there is no extra credit. Your grade is based on your performance on exams, assignments, quizzes, and in-class activities. There is nothing else that can be submitted or done to gain any extra points.

Classroom Procedures

Attendance: It is, essential that you attend classes, and is strongly recommended you read ahead in the text. If, you do miss a class, you are responsible for getting class notes from another student. Laptop/iPod/iPad/Smart Phone use: While you are in class it is important that you use your time for learning and challenging your instructor. If you must use these devices, please ensure that it is for class use only. And yes, that means no social networking during class. Cellphones: You should turn off all cell phones in class. Participation: Active learning is important for you to keep up with the material and for you to better understand the subject. Classes will be a combination of lectures, discussion and in-class exercises. Anyone disturbing the class will be asked to leave. If you are often disruptive, you will be asked to meet with undergraduate advising.

How to Learn Successfully

Prior to Class: In order to prepare for the day’s lesson, and to prevent falling behind on reading assignments, it is strongly recommended to read the text material before attending class. You should also go over the assigned readings prior to class. During Class: Taking notes is extremely important for understanding and organizing the material. After Class: It is recommended that you rewrite/reorganize your notes following class; revisiting the material on a weekly basis may seem like work now, but this time is saved later when preparing for exams. Review the “Big Picture” and see where the class material fits in (if you have doubts, ask me). In order for you to understand the material in this course, it is extremely important that you do the assigned homework problems. Working with your classmates can be a great help, and I strongly encourage it. Find a study partner. I also urge you to ask questions about any problems that give you trouble. Ask me for help. By far, the most important and least utilized resource available to students is the course instructor and Teaching Assistants. Use office hours and time before and after class.

Academic Dishonesty

Please review the UBC Calendar “Academic regulations” for the university policy on cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty.

Other Important Resources

UBC Counseling Services provide stress management, group therapy, and individual counseling for students. See their website:

The UBC ombudsman office provides an independent, impartial and confidential resource to assist students in addressing and resolving concerns about unfair treatment at UBC Vancouver. See their website:

During Exams

  • Please keep in mind the following requirements for each exam and quiz.
  • Please bring your picture ID and make it visible during each exam.
  • No cell phones please. If you have them with you, switch them off and keep them in your bag.
  • No Calculators or Pencil cases.
  • There should be no talking during or after the exam INSIDE the exam hall.
  • Tips on Taking Exams
    • Read every question on the exam before you start working. This will give you a feel for how long the exam is and how you should pace yourself. It will also give your subconscious mind a chance to start working on the questions.
    • If you are not sure what a question means, please ask me. I am trying to see how well you know the material, not to trick you with ambiguous wording.
    • Look at the point value of each question. Obviously, it is more important to do well on the questions that count the most than the ones that count the least.
    • It is generally best to do the easiest problem first, then the next easiest, and so on. You do not have to do the problems in the order they appear on the exam.
    • If you get stuck on one question, move on to the next. Come back later to the question that is giving you trouble.
    • Be aware of how much time you have left. Do not spend too much time on a single question. It is generally better to get partial credit on every question than full credit on a single question.

Course Outline

With reading assignment required before class:
1. An Introduction to Natural Resource Economics: Field chapters 1 and 2
2. Building Blocks

  • Willingness to Pay: Field chapter 3
  • Costs/Supply: Field chapter 4
  • Efficiency/Sustainability: Field chapter 5

3. Markets and Efficiency: Field chapter 6
4. Public Policy, Objectives, types, etc: Field chapter 7
5. Natural Resource Analysis

  • Principles of Analysis: Field chapter 8
  • Valuation of Natural Resources: Field chapter 9

6. Applied Natural Resource Problems

  • Mineral Economics: Field chapter 10
  • Marine Resources: Field chapter 13
  • Forest Economics: Field chapter 12.
  • Economics of Wildlife Management: Field chapter 18
  • Economics of Biodiversity Preservation: Field chapter 19
  • Land Economics
    • An Introduction: Field chapter 14
    • Resource Rents and Rent Capture: Field chapter 14 and material on vista.
    • Efficiency and Equity in Land Use Planning reading material on vista.
    • Degradation and Conservation of Agricultural Land: reading material on vista.
  • Water Resources: Field chapter 15
  • Natural Resource Decisions in Developing Countries: Field chapter 21

This syllabus is not exhaustive and may be revised later depending on how the class proceeds.