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The law and economics of derivative instruments for transboundary ecosystem services

School of Social Sciences

, Dr Andrew Allan Wednesday, June 30, 2021 Self-Funded PhD Students Only
Dundee United Kingdom Accounting Civil Engineering Climate Science Data Analysis Ecology Energy Technologies Environmental Engineering Operational Research Economics Law

About the Project

Please note: there is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

The promotion of social welfare, suitably defined, is a “central goal” of regulatory agencies (Sunstein 2017). In the context of transboundary watercourses, water-related ecosystem services constitute a portfolio of assets commodified and subsequently traded in order to resolve conflicts and foster cooperation over shared resources (Macatangay and Rieu-Clarke 2018). Such a market-based approach to the optimisation of riparian portfolios, in pursuit of social welfare maximisation, could then be established in an appropriate treaty framework (Macatangay and Rieu-Clarke 2018). Indeed sea level derivative instruments, such as a sea level default swap or a nuisance flooding futures contract, not only manages the risk that a sea-level rise adaptation project provides excessive or inadequate protection for coastal municipalities, but also brings additional capital for project development (Gourley 2017). What are the fundamental principles governing the design of hedging instruments for ecosystem services? What are their prospects for liquidity and price discovery? What governance considerations might need to be taken into account for ecosystem services to be traded in a transboundary context? What insights might be learned from experience at the national level? How can ecosystem service derivatives complement the physical or financial hedging in competing water uses, such as hydro power generation and irrigation? What are the implications for the portfolios for electric power and water-related ecosystem services?

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Rafael Emmanuel Macatangay ()
For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Applicants must have obtained a 2.1 UK honours degree or higher in a relevant discipline, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK. Applicants should normally have a good taught Masters degree (e.g. an average of B or higher) or equivalent in a relevant discipline from a recognised university.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Dr Rafael Emmanuel Macatangay () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Macatangay, formal applications can be made via UCAS Postgraduate. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy: Select the start date and study mode (full-time/part-time) agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the ‘provider questions’ section of the application form:
- Write the project title and ‘’ in the ‘if your application is in response to an advertisement’ box;
- Write the lead supervisor’s name and give brief details of your previous contact with them in the ‘previous contact with the University of Dundee’ box.

In the ‘personal statement’ section of the application form, outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.


Gourley S (2017) “Funding Adaptation: Financing Resiliency Through Sea Level Derivatives” Harvard Environmental Law Review Blog, April 17, 2017

Macatangay R, Rieu-Clarke A (2018) “The role of valuation and bargaining in optimising transboundary watercourse treaty regimes” International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

Sunstein C (2017) “Cost-Benefit Analysis and Arbitrariness Review” Harvard Environmental Law Review 41(1): 1-41

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