ECON 432S: Environmental Justice: The Economics of Race, Place, and Pollution

Reader requirements: experience in working with the environmental issues from an economics perspective; experience working with disadvantaged communities; experience working with environmental injustice; or experience with housing markets.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Christopher Timmins

Minorities, people of color, and low-income households bear a disproportionate burden from environmental pollution. Since the Clinton Administration, addressing environmental injustice has been among the policy objectives of the Environmental Protection Agency. Course examines how environmental injustices may arise out of discriminatory behavior and/or market forces founded on individual, firm, and government incentives. We begin with the theoretical framework used to document and explain disproportionate exposures, then review existing empirical evidence through case studies and evaluate competing explanations for injustice using an economics framework.

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Term Paper.
For whom? Classmate in Econ 432.
Where would such writing typically be found? Case Study (Similar to those we are reading in class).
Why would someone usually read it? Doing research in environmental justice — could also be background material for an EJ complaint filed to the EPA.

See examples of bios of possible readers for this course


Term paper: Group project Case Study

  • Interim work presented along the way
  • September 26: first presentation–focused on research question
    • Optional Reader Interaction: conversation about possible research question and direction
  • October 31: second presentation: initial presentation of econometric results or historical argument testing hypothesis
    • Feedback on rough draft/content
  • November 14: third presentation: “final” econometric results or historical argument testing hypothesis; initial conclusions
    • Penultimate draft to reader by Nov 16
    • Feedback on penultimate draft by Nov 21
  • December 5 & 7: final paper presented at end of term
  • December 9: final paper due by 5pm

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s response questions:

  1. Does the paper provide you with sufficient context so that you can understand the issue being addressed and its relevance?
  2. Are the policy implications presented in clearly?  If you were the decision maker, would you find the policy discussion useful?