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I’ve got a lot of subsections of applications that I can cover in any particular semester in my Environmental Economics course. I decided that before spending my entire summer prepping up materials in the dark, I would ask my students which extra topics they would be most and least interested in learning more about. I won’t give you the exhaustive list of what I asked them to evaluate, but here is what the class has indicated (60 responses out of a class of apx 80).

Most Preferred Topics

  1. Food economics (67% of respondents)
  2. Public choice economics (63% of students) … note this was asked before the Nancy MacLean stuff, now maybe my entire class will think I am dog-whistling for racism and authoritarianism. Note that I described public choice in the survey as, “a modern theory of regulation and why the (political) world is screwed up”

Least Preferred Topics

  1. Recycling (23%)
  2. Non-renewable resource management (i.e. running out of stuff) (25%)
  3. (tie) Global warming (31%)
  4. (tie) History of environmental quality and the environmental movement (31%)

I am not surprised (but disappointed) by their least preferred topics. Either the students feel like they know everything they need to know about those topics, or they have fatigue regarding those topics, or … any other ideas?

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