Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - CLEFIN-FINANCE (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/03) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03) - GIO (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus


Basic knowledge of microeconomics and microeconometrics is recommended.

Mission & Content Summary


Government intervention in modern economies is ubiquitous and sizeable. As a crude measure, government revenues and expenditures in European countries account for 40% of GDP on average. Government intervention reduces inequality and promote social mobility, but it also distorts market incentives and generates inefficiency. How to address this trade-off is in the hands of national governments who act in a globalised world. Understanding when the government should intervene, how it should do so and with what consequences is crucial to grasp how modern economies work. The aim of this course is to provide students with theoretical and empirical tools to analyse different areas of public intervention and their interplay. During classes we identify the institutional details which characterize a given policy; frame policy questions in theoretical terms; find the appropriate data to perform empirical analysis on the impact of a given policy and familiarize with the empirical toolkit that is used in this literature.


The course focuses on selected areas of public intervention, which are at the forefront of policy debate and academic research. We start from the observation that inequality is undermining political and economic stability and we study the different angles from which public policy can tackle it. These include:

  • Education and skill acquisition.
  • Social security and redistribution.
  • Tax systems and tax evasion.
  • Gender.
  • International migration and the integration of immigrants.
  • Health disparities.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Recognise the main trends in public intervention in the economy.
  • Identify the main justifications for goverment intervention.
  • Illustrate modes of intervention in education, social security and redistributive policy.
  • Describe what motivates tax evasion.
  • Distinguish the various dimensions of inequality.
  • Discuss the fiscal impact of immigration.


At the end of the course student will be able to...

Address policy relevant questions by:

  • Identifying the institutional details which characterise a given policy.
  • Framing the policy question in theoretical terms.
  • Choose the appropriate data to perform empirical analysis on the impact of the policy.
  • Analyse and interpret the results of the empirical analyses.
  • Advocate for specific public policy interventions.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Group assignments


Students must form small groups. Each group is assigned a paper/topic to be presented or discussed in class (group presentation). Each paper from a reading list is assigned to two groups that prepare a presentation. In class, one of the two groups is randomly selected to present the paper and the other discusses it. The schedule for presentations and discussions, as well as the groups are decided in class, depending on attendance.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)


Two partial exams or general, plus group assignment. Presentation or discussion in group assignments is evaluated 0-3 points on top of the result of the written exam.


Two partial exams or general. 

Teaching materials


Most of the course is based on articles from scientific journals and working papers. The compulsory readings are provided at the beginning of the course on Bboard. A set of slides and lecture notes are uploaded before class and are compulsory material. Instructors are available to share the provisional reading list with the interested students before the beginning of the course.

Last change 12/06/2018 19:21