Course 2017-2018 a.y.



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 23
BIG (8 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/03)
Course Director:

Classes: 23 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

The goal of this course is to discuss current topics in Public Economics. The course addresses questions such as: what is the role of the State? Why is the government intervening in the economy? What are the goals and the instruments of government intervention? What drives the design of the social insurance, of the welfare State, and of the tax system? The course trains students to understand the need for and the limitation of a public sector, as well as how the State intervention in the economy can be improved. This proves helpful in the analysis and forecast of policy decisions.

Intended Learning Outcomes
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Course Content Summary

  • Why study Public Economics?
    • Theoretical and empirical tools of public economics.
  • Market Failures and government intervention.
    • Welfare theorems.
    • Justifying public intervention.
    • Externalities.
    • Public Goods.
    • Asymmetric information.
    • Income inequality.
  • Taxation.
    • How it works and what it means.
    • Tax incidence and optimal taxation.
    • Taxation and labour supply.
    • Taxation and savings.
    • Taxation and business.
    • Taxation and wealth distribution.
  • Main areas of interventions and expenditure
    • Education.
    • Health.
    • Pensions.
    • Social security.
    • Income distribution and welfare programmes.
    • Globalization and environment.
  • Macroeconomics and public spending.
  • History of public intervention: after-WWII economic boom and public intervention in Italy and Europe.

Teaching methods
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Assessment methods
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Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Exams are only written. Students are provided with analytical, true/false and open questions. Students can take a partial and a final exam (if they passed the partial) or a general.


Textbooks are communicated at the beginning of the course.


Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 12/06/2017 13:11