Public Economics

Module code: L1091
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module provides you with a broad understanding of the scope of public economics – the role played by the government in the economy. The focus is on the rationale for government intervention and the existence of the public sector. The module will address questions such as when should health or education be provided by the state or privately, should the government intervene in individuals pension and savings decisions.

The module will combine theoretical and empirical approaches. The first part of the module will begin by introducing the welfare-theoretic foundations of government intervention, the theory of externalities, sources of market failure, public goods, information failure and incomplete markets.

The module will then develop the theory of public choice and political economy, the theory of taxation and social insurance. The final part of the module will examine specific examples of government interventions, eg healthcare, education, pensions, savings etc. In each field the module will also consider new behavioural considerations in understanding individual responses.

Module learning outcomes

  • Have demonstrated a systematic understanding of the those principles at the forefront of economics as they relate to economic problems and issues.
  • Have demonstrated a systematic understanding of the economic field of Public Economics.
  • Be able to use the power of abstraction to focus upon the essential features of an economic problem and to provide a systematic framework for the coherent and critical evaluation of the effects of policy or other exogenous events.
  • Be able to critically analyse an economic problem or issue using an appropriate theoretical framework, recognise its limitations and appreciate uncertainties around such analyses.