Applied Economics Teaching Resources

an AAEA Journal

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Teaching and Educational Methods

Reconciling Theory and Practice in Higher Education Water Economics Courses

Roy Brouwer(a)
University of Waterloo

JEL Codes: A220, Q225
Keywords: Collaboration, education, interdisciplinarity, water challenges, water economics

Publish Date: August 15, 2023
Volume 5, Issue 2

View Full Article (PDF)


The water economics course offered at the University of Waterloo provides students from the Department of Economics and other schools and departments across campus the opportunity to learn more about the application of economic theory, concepts, models, and methods to global water challenges. Students are prepared for real-world challenges by linking theory to practical examples. They are brought “into the field” through visits to local wastewater treatment facilities and real-world practical assignments. Emerging trends and water policy challenges in need of reconciliation with economic theory and methods are addressed. The practical examples make abstract water management challenges in the water economics literature real for students. Collaboration with other disciplines and sectors, as increasingly required in the water domain, is emphasized to effectively inform economically efficient water management. The annual course evaluation shows that economics students value especially the applied and interdisciplinary nature of the course.

About the Author: Roy Brouwer is a Professor in Economics and Executive Director of the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo, Canada (Corresponding author:

Copyright is governed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA


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