12442 - Economics of the Public Sector

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2015/2016

Course contents

Part I - Theoretical principles of public intervention

The public sector and the principal indicators of public finance. Public debt. Tax burden and public spending programs. Rationale for public interventions. Market failures.

Part II - Theory of taxation

Public revenues. The progressive tax: methods for designing the progressivity. Progressivity measures and redistributive effects of income taxation. Equity and efficiency of taxation. The distortionary effects of taxation on agent behaviour. Incidence of tax . 

Part III – Welfare State

Government spending programs in pensions, education, poverty

Part IV -  Public policies in illegal markets

Fiscal evasion, Economics of crime.


Harvey S. Rosen and Ted Gayer (2014) , Public Finance, 10 edition, McGraw Hill.

Teaching methods


Assessment methods

The written exam is aimed at assessing the comprehension of the principles of public sector policies.  The written exam is composed of four open questions.  The mark is out of 30 points, and the minimum required to pass the exam is 18 / 30.

During exams, it is not allowed the use of materials such as: textbooks, lecture notes/slides;  web-enabled or data storage devices such as computers (laptops or tablets), or smartphones. Candidates found with such items will be removed from the exam and their work will not be marked.  Registration for the exam is compulsory, and students have to register through Almaesami according to the general rules of the School of Economics, Management and Statistics.

Teaching tools


Office hours

See the website of Emanuela Randon