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AL2190 Ecological Economics 7.5 credits

To introduce central macro- and micro economic concepts and tools applicable in sustainable development to students without economic knowledge background. To understand the basic principles in the neoclassical environmental economic theory and the trans-diciplinary subject  ecological economics

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Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.


For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 17 Mar 2025 programme students

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus AL2190 (Spring 2023–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

In lectures and seminars, central principles of economic thinking will be explained and discussed, including:

  • sustainable development: production and consumption
  • price mechanism and market failures
  • capital stocks, natural capital and resource maintenance
  •  consumption and the consumer society
  • GDP growth, limits to growth, degrowth
  •  welfare and income distribution
  • tragedy of the commons
  • ecosystem services
  • environmental taxes and quotas
  • poverty alleviation, globalisation and trade
  • ecological footprint
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • multiple criteria decision analysis

Intended learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to make students without prior economics knowledge/background understand the basic principles and tools associated with competing approaches that guide sustainable development (i.e. Environmental Economics and Ecological Economics)

The student should be able to after concluding this course:

  • Describe the history of economic thought and its relation to sustainable development
  • Describe and explain the basic principles of macro- and microeconomics in relation to sustainable development and analyse strengths and limitations of these theories
  • Describe and explain the fundamental concepts and theories of neoclassical environmental economics and ecological economics and analyse strengths and limitations of these theories;
  • Describe and apply alternative tools for integrating sustainability criteria in (economic) decision-making

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Admitted to Master's Programme, Sustainable Technology (TSUTM).

Others: Admitted to a program at KTH - Royal Institute of Technology and at least completed 180 ECTS credits. Courses from upper secondary school corresponding to the courses Eng B/6 according to the Swedish upper secondary school system.

Recommended prerequisites

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H Herman E. Daly and Joshua Farley. Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications. Island Press, 2004. Additional scientific papers.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO2 - Project, 3.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • SEM2 - Seminar, 0.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • SEM3 - Seminar, 0.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN2 - Written examination, 3.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Students who have not completed the course with previous examination are asked to contact the examiner.

Other requirements for final grade

All parts of the course must be completed.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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