Department of Economics. Photo: Harry Schindler/UFZ

Department of Economics


What value do environmental commodities and ecosystem services have for society? How can this value be measured or quantified? Does this help to solve conflicts between protecting nature and the environment and using them for economic purposes? Who are the stakeholders and according to which rules do they own scarce environmental resources and make decisions about them? How can these decisions be improved with the help of environmental policy instruments in the fields of energy, climate and nature protection and the conservation of water bodies?

Nature is a scarce commodity. How can environmental resources be treated carefully and frugally and what rules does society require for this – these questions fall within the scope of economic environmental research in the Department of Economics.

As part of the Division of Social Sciences, the Department of Economics works with researchers in other disciplines on current problems in the fields of water, (bio)energy and nature conservation as well as biodiversity and climate change. In this context we analyse questions of economic assessment, the organisation of institutions and decision-making processes as well as the instrumentation of environmental and resource policy. We examine, inter alia, levies and prices in the fields of energy, water and nature conservation, compensation payments for ecological services, tradable water rights, CO2 emissions trading, feed-in remuneration schemes for renewable energies, tradable land development rights, habitat trading and the economic aspects of regulating chemicals. Moreover, we refine integrated methods for economic-ecological modelling of environmental decision systems.

With our expertise in the field of applied economic environmental research we want to contribute to the sustainable development of environment and society .

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