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To Be or Not To Be a Golf Course in Wimberley?


Joni Seaton James Charles
Department of Finance and Economics
Texas State University


This interrupted case study examines the tensions that a small town in Texas faces between economic development and the preservation of a natural water resource for which the town is known. It highlights the interdependence and tensions between economic activity, economic growth and the natural environment.  Various stakeholder groups materialize when a residential developer submits plans to construct a new golf course that could lead to over-pumping of precious groundwater in a region already stricken with drought. Students identify these stakeholder groups and then engage in a role playing activity that requires them to articulate the various viewpoints. The case study is intended to be used early in the semester as a way of introducing course components such as economic analysis, environmental policy, environmental stewardship, risk assessment, and management. The case can also be used to introduce economic concepts to students of environmental issues in the physical sciences. Ideally students will have previously taken an introductory microeconomics class.


  • Identify the impact of economic activity on the environment.
  • Discuss the tension and recognize the interdependence that can exist between economic activity and the natural environment.
  • Differentiate between various stakeholders in the public and private sector.
  • List, define, memorize, and recall fundamental concepts and terms such as costs, benefits, pollution, sources of environmental damage by their mobility, identifiability and geographic origin, sustainability, sustainable development, and biodiversity.


Risk analysis; biodiversity; sustainability; sustainable development; land use; pollution, government policy; government oversight; environmental management; resource management; economic growth; natural environment; economic development; tradeoffs

Topical Areas

Policy issues, Regulatory issues, Social issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division



Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Debate, Dilemma/Decision, Discussion, Interrupted, Public Hearing, Role-Play



Subject Headings

Economics  |   Environmental Science  |   Ecology  |   Natural Resource Management  |   Hydrology  |   Geography  |   Environmental Engineering  |   Interdisciplinary Sciences  |  

Date Posted


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