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Master in

Integrated planning for rural development and environmental management

Last edition: 1st part: 26 September 2016 – 9 June 2017 / 2nd part: September 2017 – June 2018 ··

Master in

Integrated planning for rural development and environmental management

General information on the Unit

Contact hours: 63 (38 lectures, 25 practicals)
Personal work hours: 87
Character: Compulsory
Venue: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza
-  Developed during the first academic year of the Master, the basic subjects of regional economics and markets and natural resource economics and environmental legislation are developed at the end of the first semester. The subjects of environmental economics and legislation and economic assessment of planning projects are developed at the beginning of the second semester.
- The assessment of this Unit consists in a unique exam during the second semester.
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites
Learning methods
Combination of theoretical and practical sessions, and individual and group study and work.
Lecturers may deliver the course in Spanish or in English. In the second case, simultaneous interpretation into Spanish is provided. The documents supplied by the lecturers may also be written in Spanish or in English.


Presentation of the Unit and context within the syllabus

This Unit provides the knowledge, criteria and methodologies that allow the economic analysis of a territory both from a market perspective and through the valuation of goods and services, underlining how to manage properly the system’s renewable and non-renewable resources and implement effective environmental policies.



Specific competences

  • ­ SC3 Considering the social and economic processes in an area, and assessing the implications of different legislations, policies, actions and activities on its development. [focusing on the economic processes]
  • ­ SC4 Characterizing and assessing the different sub-systems (physical, economic and social) and elements interacting in rural areas, and diagnosing their potentials and limitations. [focusing on the economic sub-system]
  • ­ SC7 Understanding and valuing the usefulness of applying different methodologies and tools to the design of environmental and development policies, to the improvement of the management and to the integrated planning of a territory.

General competences

  • ­ GC1 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
  • ­ GC3 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.
  • ­GC5 Learning and working autonomously, responding to unforeseen situations and re-aiming a strategy if necessary.
  • ­GC6 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.
  • ­ CG7 Communicating reasoning and conclusions both to a general audience and to a specialized public.


Learning outcomes

The student, at the end of the learning of this Unit:

  • Knows how to conduct an analysis aimed at the economic characterization of a particular territory.
  • Is acquainted with the basic principles, relevant methods and techniques in environmental economics and the economics of natural resources, and knows how to value environmental goods and services.
  • Knows how to apply the above mentioned principles and methods for planning the optimal use of natural renewable and depletable resources, and for designing and implementing efficient environmental policies.
  • Can evaluate the viability of planning projects, considering both costs and economic, social and environmental benefits.
  • Identifies the main international institutions and national administrations with responsibilities in environment protection, knows how to assess different intervention formula put forward by administrations or private bodies, and is acquainted with the environmental legislation in force.



  • Introduction to markets
  • Basic elements of regional economics
  • The economics of natural resources and environmental economics
    • Introduction to welfare economics
    • Introduction to cost-benefit analysis
    • Economics of natural resources
    • Environmental economics
    • Case study: Economic valuation of natural resources in the Mediterranean
  • Economic evaluation in planning projects
  • Environmental legislation


Learning activities

Learning activity 1: Lectures combined with case studies and examples
Hours: 101
Percentage of contact: 38%

Learning activity 2: Solving of exercises and problems, carrying out:
- exercises on market economics based on analyses of situations, calculations and graphical representations. Students will have solved exercises available as a model to solve the exercises proposed.
- survey of indicators of interest for regional economics studies and the analysis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative economic data.
- application of the cost-benefit analysis methodology, carrying out delimitation of costs and benefits and their assessment, decision criteria available, choice of discount rate, and incorporation of risk and the possible redistributive effects to the analysis.
- analysis of situations and graphical and numerical solving of exercises on welfare economics.
- use of Excel Solver for the numerical optimization of problems linked to natural resource management.
- analysis of the answers obtained in a real contingent valuation survey through parametric and non-parametric estimation procedures to assess the welfare variation in society derived from a specific programme of forest restoration.
- application of the multi-attribute choice method to measure the welfare variation in society as a consequence of the variation of different environmental attributes derived from a specific programme of forest restoration, based on data from a real survey.
- exercises of identification, measurement and assessment of costs and benefits for the economic assessment of projects.
Students work individually or in pairs to solve the exercises.
ECTS: 1.8
Hours: 44
Percentage of contact: 55%

Learning activity 3: Seminar on commenting academic papers and discussing in groups projects of public investment where a cost-benefit analysis has been applied.
ECTS: 0.2
Hours: 5
Percentage of contact: 20%


Assessment method

Assessment system 1: Written exams, composed by questions provided by the different lecturers of the Unit. The exam is made up of concrete questions requiring a short development, and exercises to be solved, similar to those carried out during the practical exercises and in the seminar.
In the written exams, the questions are marked according to the technical and conceptual precision of the answer, and to the reasoning approach, and the exercises according to the understanding of the methodology and the validity of the results.
Weighting: 100% of the final score of the Unit



Fernando ARBUÉS, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)
Eduardo BANDRÉS, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)
Raúl BREY, Univ. Pablo Olavide, Sevilla (Spain)
Amor DÍEZ-TICIO, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)
María Jesús MANCEBÓN, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)
Joaquín OLONA, QUASAR CONSULTORES, Zaragoza (Spain)
Daniel RONDEAU, Univ. Victoria (Canada)
Beatriz SETUAIN, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)