Course 2014-2015 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 focuses on the analysis of the impact of government intervention on market economies. It develops along four main topics.
  • The interaction between public policies and the acquisition and development of human capital.
  • Gender gaps in the labour market and in politics and policies which attempt to overcome them.
  • Public policies in open economy, with a focus on international labour mobility. 
  • Social security: how demographic changes influence the design, reform and impact of pension systems.
The course strikes a balance between the development of theoretical and empirical methods. It will provide students with the ability to address policy relevant questions. Namely, students will be given the tools to identify the institutional details which characterize a given policy; to frame a policy question in theoretical terms; to find the appropriate data to perform empirical analysis on the impact of a given policy.

Course Content Summary

  • The Welfare state: an Introduction
  • Education
    • Education financing and macroeconomic outcomes
    • Public/private schooling and students’ outcomes
  • Human capital accumulation
    • The technology of skill formation
    • The role of early environments and child care policies
  • Time use and public policies
  • Gender gaps
    • Some explanations for the emergence of gender gaps
    • Policies to address the gender gap in the labour market
    • Gender quotas on corporate boards
    • Gender quotas in politics
  • Income inequality and social mobility
  • Public policies in open economies
    • Redistribution and factor mobility
    • The fiscal effect of immigration
    • The assimilation of immigrants
    • Social networks and welfare participation
    • Migration policies and illegal migratio
    • Brain drain vs brain gain
  • Social security
    • Pension system, savings and the labour supply
    • The design and reform of pension systems
    • Welfare state and demographics

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

For non attending students

Written exam.

For attending students

Written exam. A presentation based on topics agreed upon during the course can complement part of the written exam. There is the possibily to sit a partial exam.


Most of the course is based on articles from scientific journals and working papers. The compulsory are provided at the beginning of the course. A set of slides and lecture notes will be available before classes.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 25/06/2014 17:48