Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The aim of this course is to provide the theoretical elements and the basic knowledge for the analysis of the allocative and redistributive role of the public sector. The student will learn the main institutional aspects and the methodology to analyze the economic effects of public intervention in the economy, through public expenditure and fiscal revenue.

Course contents

Part I - Theoretical rationales of public intervention.

Welfare economics and market failures. A case of market failure: the theory of public goods.

Part II - Theory of taxation

Public revenues. The progressive tax: methods for implementing the progressivity. Progressivity measures and redistributive effects of income taxation. Equity of taxation. Fiscal treatment of the family and the choice of tax unit. The distortionary effects of taxation on agents' choice.

Part III - Introduction to the the Italian fiscal system

The personal income tax (Irpef).

Part IV - Tax-benefit models and income redistribution

Introduction to the welfare state expenditure: theoretical rationales and ways of provision. The dilemma of social assistance expenditure: universalism vs selectivity. Tax-benefit schemes.


M. Baldini, L. Rizzo, Flat tax. Parti uguali tra disuguali?, Il Mulino, 2019.

P. Bosi, (a cura di), Corso di Scienza delle finanze, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019, 8th edition [chapters I (parag. 1 and 2), II (only par. 1), III (except parag. 8), and VIII (parag. 1 and 4)].

P. Bosi, M.C. Guerra, I tributi nell'economia italiana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019 [chapters I, III].

S. Toso, Reddito di cittadinanza. O reddito minimo?, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016.

Additional teaching material will be available on IOL during the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures. At least one lecture will be dedicated to an interactive discussion among students on a topic which is particularly relevant in the current economic debate.

Assessment methods

The exam is aimed to verify the following teaching objectives: 1) knowledge of the theoretical tools which have been illustrated during the lectures, 2) capability to apply those tools to the analysis of the real and financial effects of the public sector intervention in the economy.
All students must take a written exam. An oral (non compulsory) exam is also allowed. Examples of past exam questions will be made available on line. Students pass the examination if and only if their mark in the written exam is sufficient (equal or greater than 18/30).

Teaching tools

A video-projector will be used in some lectures, for presentations with Power Point files.

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Toso