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EC320: Economics of Public Policy

  • Atisha Ghosh

    Module Leader
15 CATS - Department of Economics
Autumn Module

Principal Aims

This module aims to train students in the theory and applications of public policy. It will equip students with various tools of analysis and skills that can be applied to selected theoretical and applied problems in the economics of public goods, public expenditure, externalities and taxation, as well as in aspects of political economy.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Key skills: … Ability to understand and manipulate simple economic models, and to read critically the empirical literature, in the area of public policy The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, classes, and independent study..

Subject-specific and Professional Key General Skills Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: mathematical/statistical skills: use/application of mathematics and diagrams in economic analysis; understanding of statistical analysis of data.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, guided reading and independent study

Cognitive skills: … Apply critical analysis to the topics of the module, formulate concepts and hypotheses, and show how they are tested in relevant literature.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, classes, and independent study.

Professional skills: … Review the relevant literature and evidence The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, classes, and independent study.

Subject-specific and Professional Key General Skills Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: data skills: Use of library and internet as information sources. Knowledge of how to locate relevant data, extract appropriate data, analyse and present material.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, guided reading and independent study.

Subject-specific and Professional Key General Skills Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: ) communicating their knowledge and understanding to others, verbally and in writing.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, guided reading and independent study

Subject-specific and Professional Key General Skills Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: ) reviewing the relevant literature and evidence.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, guided reading and independent study

Subject knowledge and understanding: … Demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of public economicsThe teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, classes, and independent study.

Subject knowledge and understanding: … Demonstrate familiarity with some applications of economics that have been specific to the study of public policy.The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, classes, and independent study.

Syllabus

This course is concerned with understanding the role of government in the economy through taxation, expenditure and regulation. This course will typically cover both the classic topics in this area, such as the provision of public goods, the design of taxation, and inter-generational distribution, as well more modern themes. In particular, we will focus on three of these. First, we will look at the political economy approach to public finance, which stresses that governments are not benevolent dictators, but take decisions via a political process, and thus may themselves take inefficient decisions; thus, we should be aware of “government failure” as well as market failure. Second, due to globalisation, the international dimension in government decision-making is becoming more important, especially on the tax side, with issues of mobile tax bases and tax competition. Third, many countries (although, so far, notably, not the UK) are undergoing a process of fiscal decentralisation; we will examine the fiscal relationships between central and local government, a topic known as fiscal federalism.

Context

Optional Module
GL11 - Year 3, GL12 - Year 4, L100 - Year 3, L103 - Year 4, L116 - Year 3, L1P5 - Year 1, L1PA - Year 1, LM1D (LLD2) - Year 3, LM1H - Year 4, V7ML - Year 3, V7MM - Year 4, V7MP - Year 3, V7MR - Year 3, LA99 - Year 3, R9L1 - Year 4, R3L4 - Year 4, R4L1 - Year 4, R2L4 - Year 4, R1L4 - Year 4, L1L8 - Year 3
Part-year Availability for Visiting Students
Available in the Autumn term only (1 x problem set – 12 CATS)

Assessment

Assessment Method
Coursework (30%) + 2 hour examination (Summer) (70%)
Coursework Details
Policy brief (20%), Multiple Choice Test online (10%), 2 hour examination (Summer) (70%)
Exam Timing
N/A

Exam Rubric

Time Allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions ONLY. All questions carry equal marks (50 marks each). Answer each question in a separate answer booklet.

Approved pocket calculators are allowed.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book provided and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book. If you answer more questions than are required and do not indicate which answers should be ignored, we will mark the requisite number of answers in the order in which they appear in the answer book(s): answers beyond that number will not be considered.

Previous exam papers can be found in the University’s past papers archive. Please note that previous exam papers may not have operated under the same exam rubric or assessment weightings as those for the current academic year. The content of past papers may also be different.

Reading Lists