Course 2012-2013 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) - CLAPI (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  |  SECS-P/03) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/03)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

The aim of the course is to lay the groundwork for an understanding of Public Economics at a master level. The course tries to strike a balance between the development of theoretical tools and the use of empirical methods to assess the impact of government intervention.

The course develops along three main parts.

  • The first part analyses the government expenditure with a special focus on social security, education and early childhood environments.
  • The second part of the course examines public policies in an open economy, with a view on multiple jurisdictions and migration decisions issues: we discuss how national policies can be sustained in the presence of international labour and capital movements and we focus on the setting of migration policies.
  • The last part covers issues related to gender gaps in participation and wages: their causes and policies aimed at reducing them.

Course Content Summary

  • Social Security.
    • Pension systems, savings and the accumulation of physical capital.
    • Pensions and the labour supply.
    • Pensions and demographics.
    • Pension design and reform.
  • Education.
    • Private versus public provision. 
    • Financing of schools. The role of vouchers.
    • The redistributive effects of education and education financing.
    • Early childhood interventions and human capital accumulation.
  • Time-Use.
  • Subjective Well-Being.
    • Meaning and Measurement.
    • Application to labour markets, public goods and policy.
  • Public Policy in Open Economy.
    • Fiscal competition.
    • Migration and migration policies.
  • Gender.
    • Gaps in the labour market and in politics.
    • Public Policies to reduce gender gaps.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods


Attending students:

Written exam. A presentation based on topics agreed upon during the course can complement part of the written exam.


Non attending students:

Written exam


Reference texts are:

  • J. HINDRICKS, G.D. MYLES, Intermediate Public Economics, MIT Press, 2005.
  • G.D. MYLES, Public Economics, CUP, 1998.
  • J. GRUBER, Public Finance and Public Policy, Worth Publishers, last edition.
  • A.J. AUERBACH, M. FELDSTEIN (eds.) Handbook of Public Economics, vol. 2 and 4, North-Holland.
  • N. BARR, The Welfare State as Piggy Bank, Part III, OUP, 2001.  

Most of the course is based on articles from scientific journals and working papers. A complete and up-to-date list with an indication of the compulsory readings is provided at the beginning of the course.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 08/06/2012 12:54