Spring 2017

Public Economics: Environment, Health, and Inequality

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-212


Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (Section 01)


Inequality is arguably one of the primary issues of our time.  In this course, we will focus on understanding the particular manifestations of inequality in health and individual well-being that derive from inequality in environmental conditions.  We will start with the canonical models of public economics, studying the role of government and paying particular attention to how failures of standard assumptions of rationality, perfect information, and perfect competition will lead to inefficiencies and inequities. We will then apply these modes of analysis to the following topic areas: a) poverty, inequality, meritocracy, and systemic racism; b) environmental inequality and environmental justice; c) health inequality and the cross-generational perpetuation of disadvantage.  Lastly, we will consider the potential of public policy to improve societal well-being by targeting these inequities.

Requisite: ECON 111/111E.  Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Professor Reyes.

If Overenrolled: Students may be asked to describe their academic background and interest in the course. Some preference will be given to economics and environmental studies majors.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Race, Quantitative Reasoning


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Fall 2018