Economics of Environmental Health

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSLS2EC2154

Semester and Year Offered: 3/4 Semester, 2nd Year

Course Coordinator and Team: Robin Singhal, Dipa Sinha

Email of course coordinator:,

Pre-requisites: Microeconomics, Econometrics

Aim: This course aims at developing an understanding of the health issues, methods used in economic evaluation of environmental policies, and possible approaches to analyse and address the health impact of economic decisions and environmental policies. This course uses insights and studies from environmental economics, epidemiology, health, and development economics to introduce students to environment – health linkages and underscore health outcomes related to exposure to air and water pollution, variations in the weather and food and energy sources, and environmental policy. Upon completion of the course, students would have gained knowledge about the methods, data, and models and specifications used in risk assessment and analysis of environment and health from an economist’s perspective.

Course Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  1. Use evaluation methods to assess impact of environmental policies on health
  2. Discuss environment-health linkages especially health outcomes related to pollution
  3. Interpret data and models related to the analysis of health and environment
  4. Critique environmental policy in terms of its potential to address environmental health concerns

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Concepts in environmental health - types of environmental hazards, healthy life expectancy, QALYs; DALYs, Burden of Disease, dose response relationships, economic evaluation : cost benefit, cost effectiveness analysis
  2. Health impact of outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution- relative risk, cost of illness, gender aspects
  3. Water pollution- health impact of exposure to toxic substances, willingness to pay approaches, valuation of economic and health costs
  4. Weather related outcomes- variations in the weather and impact on mortality, disease incidence, economic and health effects of weather-related disturbances
  5. Environmental and health policy- environmental health; global changes in environment and the third world

Assessment Details with weights:

2 tests and 1 assignment (30 %- 40% -30%)

Class test 1 will based on material covered during first half of the semester.

Class test 2 based on material covered during first half of the semester.

Assignment will be based on a topic related to environment health and policy on which the students will have to do a detailed literature review and write a paper of 3500 words.

Reading List:

  • Dasgupta, S., Huq, M., Khaliquzzaman, M., Pandey, K., and D. Wheeler. 2004. Indoor Air Quality for Poor Families: New Evidence from Bangladesh, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3393. Washington, DC.
  • Prüss-Üstün A., C. Mathers, C. Corvalán and A. Woodward. 2003. Introduction and Methods: Assessing the Environmental burden of disease at national and local levels, WHO.
  • Chay, K. and Greenstone, M. 2003. The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession, The Quarterly Journal of Economics
  • Vol. 118, No. 3 (Aug., 2003), pp. 1121-1167
  • Cropper, M. L., Simon, N. B., Alberini, A. and Sharma, P.K. 1997. The Health Effects of Air Pollution in Delhi, India (December). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 1860. Available at SSRN:
  • Dasgupta, P. 2004. Valuing health damages from water pollution in urban Delhi, India: A production function approach, Environment and Development Economics 9 (1)
  • Haller L, Hutton G and Bartram J (2007). Estimating the costs and health benefits of water and sanitation improvements at global level. Journal of Water and Health. 5(4): p. 467-480.
  • Deschenes, O., M. Greenstone and J. Guryan. 2009. Climate Change and Birth Weight,
  • American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 99(2)
  • Sachs, J. & P. Malaney. 2002. The Economic and Social burden of Malaria, Nature 415, 680-685 (7 February 2002)
  • Freeman, A. M. III .2006. Valuing Environmental Health Effects: An Economic Perspective, Environmental and Resource Economics, 34(3), 347-363