Course 2022-2023 a.y.

30264 - SCIENZA DELLE FINANZE / PUBLIC FINANCE

Department of Social and Political Sciences


For the instruction language of the course see class group/s below
Go to class group/s: 31
WBB (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03)
Course Director:
LAURA BONACORSI

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: LAURA BONACORSI

Class group/s taught in English

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Suggested background knowledge

A good knowledge of basic microeconomic theory (e.g. utility maximization, marginal rate of substitution, elasticity, mathematical derivatives) is strongly suggested. If you are not familiar with these concepts, the textbook provides a review chapter that you are required to prepare on your own. I also provide slides for your own review.

Mission & Content Summary

MISSION

The goal of this course is to discuss current topics in Public Finance and to study government intervention in the economy from a normative perspective. The course addresses the fundamental questions of public finance: - When should the government intervene in the economy? - How might the government intervene? - What is the effect of those interventions on economic outcomes? - Why do governments choose to intervene in the way that they do? - What drives the design of social insurance schemes, of the welfare state, and of the tax system? The course trains students to understand the need for and the limitations of the public sector, as well as how State intervention in the economy can be improved. This proves helpful in the analysis and forecast of policy decisions, by market analysts or by professionals working in government or international organizations.

CONTENT SUMMARY

  1. In the first part of the course, we cover the main motivations for government intervention in the economy:
    • We analyze the different types of market failures, such as externalities and underprovision of public goods.
    • We discuss equity and efficiency rationales.
    • We discuss how to measures the benefits and the costs of government interventions.
    • Which is the optimal government level for intervention (fiscal federalism).
    • Why governments intervene in the way they do (political economy).
    • We conclude the first part by analyzing an impure type of public good that is provided by governments of all developed economies: education.
  2. In the second part of the course, we discuss the social insurance framework and focus on the main welfare state programs:
    • Pensions.
    • Healthcare.
    • Unemployment benefits.
    • Anti-poverty programs.
  3. Finally, we discuss how governments raise the resources needed for intervention, by analyzing taxation issues:
    • Tax incidence.
    • Tax efficiency.
    • Distortionary effects of taxation.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING

At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Illustrate the economic rationales of government intervention in market economies.
  • Define Public Goods, externalities, asymmetric information issues
  • Identify in which instances government intervention is needed to correct market failures.
  • Explain how social insurance programs are designed in different countries
  • Explain how personal income taxation works in different countries and why

APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING

At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Discuss the role and extent of government intervention in market economies based on normative theory and empirical evidence.
  • Analyze empirical evidence of academic research that evaluates the effects of government intervention.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of public policies.
  • Compare different policy/reform proposals for both public expenditure and taxation.
  • Evaluate why governments intervene in the way they do.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)

DETAILS

We solve and discuss numerical exercises and theoretical questions in class through the course. The goal is to put the concepts and theory of public finance "at work" and practice for quizzes and exams.


Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x

ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

For both attending and not-attending students, written individual exams can be a mix of open ended essays, numerical excercises, and multiple choice questions aimed at assessing students' ability to illustrate the economic rationales of government intervention in market economies, identify market failures and propose viable correcting public policies, estimate economic costs and benefits of the proposed policies and explain how social insurance programs are designed. The assessment will also be aimed at testing students' developed ability to analyze empirical evidence of academic research that evaluates the effects of government intervention, compare different policy/reform proposals for both public expenditure and taxation and evaluate why governments intervene in the way they do.

 

For both attending and not-attending students, written individual exams are a mix of open ended, numerical, multiple choice and "True" or "False" questions.

 

Two options are available for the assessment, based on student’s preference:

 

Option A: midterm (50%) on the first half of the course + final (50%) on the second half of the course. The final grade is the average of the two grades if and only if they are both above 18.

 

Option B: general exam (100%) on all the topics.

 

QUIZZES: two multiple choice quizzes will be administered in class via Bboard. Each one is made up by 15 questions (30Q in total). If you score at least 18/30 in total, you get an extra point +1 on your final grade (computed with either option A or option B)


Teaching materials


ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

  • J. GRUBER, Public Finance and Public Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, 6th edition.
  • We upload the slides used for lectures on Bboard. We will also upload exercises and solutions. Online teaching materials are compulsory for the course. 
Last change 09/06/2022 10:05