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EC981: Topics in Public Finance

  • Atisha Ghosh

    Module Leader
18 CATS - Department of Economics
Summer Module
Spring Module

Principal Aims

The module applies methodology learnt in core modules to empirical and theoretical applications in the field of public finance. The main goal is to understand the role of government in the economy through taxation and expenditure. The module will introduce students to frontier research that has immediate practical relevance to the design of public policies such as income and business taxation, social insurance programmes, inequality and the provision of public goods.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Student will learn to analyse the impact of public policies on efficiency and equity, using both theoretical and empirical tools. They will also acquire the ability to understand and interpret the recent developments of research in the field of public finance, and the implications for the design of public policies.


The module will typically cover the following topics: inequality and the role of government in the economcy; tax incidence; distortions and welfare losses; behavioural responses to income and business taxation; social insurance programmes; public goods.


Optional Module
L1P6 - Year 1
Pre or Co-requisites
Students should have completed courses in intermediate level microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics.


Assessment Method
For 18-CAT Students: 2 hour exam (80%)+ coursework (20%). For 20-CAT Students (MA Public Policy Students): 2 hour exam (90%) plus one presentation administered by PAIS (10%).
Coursework Details
Two problem sets (worth 10% each)
Exam Timing

Exam Rubric

Time Allowed: 2 Hours

Answer BOTH questions in Section A (50 marks) and ONE question from Section B (50 marks).

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