During the last quarter century, America has woken up to the fact that we have waste problems. As a result, the handling and disposal of waste of all kinds has become heavily regulated. In this course, the entire waste-scape is viewed-mining waste, agricultural waste, packaging waste, household trash collection, landfills, incinerators, litter, mandatory deposits (on beverage containers and on hazardous wastes), interstate and international waste trade, recycling (lots on this), hazardous waste, Superfund, low-level radioactive waste, and spent nuclear-reactor fuel.
This one-month, one-credit course will examine how federal, state, and local governments have undertaken the regulation of waste and what effects of regulation have been on economic efficiency, health, and the environment. There are three prerequisites:
- ECON 101;
- interest in learning how to analyze economic policy issues, especially those concerned with waste and recycling; and
- willingness to recall and use algebra, graphs, and other tools of analysis that you studied in the introductory microeconomics course (Be warned: In the past, students who had trouble with the theory in ECON 101 have found the theory in this course to be hard).
Most classes will begin with a short quiz to ensure your attendance and careful prior reading of that day's textbook assignment (some 40+ pages per class). There will be no make-up quizzes except by prior arrangment. Following the quiz, since the textbook is the lecture, each class will be entirely discussion. I hope each student will want to contribute to this discussion, but if necessary, I will call on people. The course grade will be: 2/3 the average of the quiz grades; and 1/3 the grade on a last-class final exam testing your use of economic analysis on several waste policy problems which the course did not cover.
The textbook ("The Economics of Waste" published by Resources for the Future) is in the UM libraries, so prospective enrollees can see what they are getting into (or come to my office to see it, at M110 Lorch). A new paperback copy (if you can find one) costs about $45, but coursepack copies will be available at DollarBill for about $30. Note the course times carefully: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10-5.25 pm, September 8-October 8 ONLY