The course aims at providing students with the basic knowledge and tools that are required to observe, interpret, and assess the role of public institutions, mainly governments, in the economic debate at the national or global level. After the course, students are able to:
- Formulate their own convictions concerning desirable economic and fiscal policy and back them up with economic theory and economic philosophy
- Discuss the interaction between political and economic conditions
- Develop a critical attitude towards newspapers and politicians, but also towards textbooks and their academic teachers
- Apply and critically discuss the economic frameworks underlying public expenditures (Topic 1)
- Examine and develop a well-grounded attitude towards the societal implications of economic policy (Topic 2)
- Understand and analyze the implications of taxation and debt in terms of allocative efficiency and equality (Topic 3)
Economic Policy and Public Finance in a Nutshell
The course considers the government’s role in the economy, its policy decisions, and their effects on allocation, stabilization, and distribution. We introduce suitable frameworks for analyzing public expenditures, ranging from social security to climate policy, and public finance (taxation and debt). Furthermore, we discuss the underlying principles of economic policy, teaching the student how to dissect and understand contrasting perspectives. The focus of this course is on building a nuanced understanding of current and controversial topics – so that graduates of this course can evaluate contrasting views and raises practice-oriented insights into various public topics.
The course uses standard micro- and macroeconomic frameworks as well as state-of-the-art academic articles. The goal is to provide students with a balanced view of government action that includes but also goes beyond standard neoclassical thought. Students are expected and encouraged to critically evaluate the contents of the course, and highly critical of the lecturer in particular.
Concretely, study three topics: (1) Principles of Economic Policy; (2) Public Expenditure; and (3) Public Finance.
Topics in Economic Policy and Public Finance
The first part of the course concerns the Principles of Economic Policy. It emphasizes the welfare-theoretic foundations for the analysis of public policy, the rationale for government intervention, and the constraints on government action. It addresses an economist’s toolbox for analyzing government expenditure. Not only the effects of spending activities are analyzed, but also what these activities ought to be. Specifically, the first topic discusses public welfare through public responses to externalities, inequality, and political economy.
The second topic concerns Public Expenditure, which considers the outlays of the government budget. Government activities such as the provision of public goods like social security, education, and health are at the center of this topic. Building on the foundations of the preceding principles, we will shift gradually from a theoretical understanding of economic policy to practical applications.
The third topic emphasizes the income ledger of a government, also known as Public Finance. The third topic provides various angles to discuss public finance, with an emphasis on optimal taxation, efficiency and equity, tax reforms, and debt as a financing instrument.
In addition, a student of this course also gains access to supplementary material to deepen his/her understanding of economic policy. While not mandatory, the Brightspace module called Curiosity Fuel directs the interested student to current- and in-depth pieces on EPPF-matters.
Recommended: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics
|Written exam and assignment. NOTE: assignment requires manual enrollment. See Brightspace for information.
Partial results (for assignment) remain valid for 1 year.|