At the end of the course the student is able to:
- Apply the basic principles of microeconomics, macroeconomics and institutional economics to topics of public sector economics;
- Analyse newspaper articles and current political debates with this theoretical basis;
- Assess political opinions on logic and consistency;
- Debate about public sector topics by formulating arguments pro and contra;
- Write a paper with other students about a current topic in the area of public sector economics;
- Give relevant comments on papers of other students.
|Required elective. Major-related elective. This course cannot be combined with the course Public Economics (LUISS).
This course practices your knowledge of macro- and microeconomics by applying it to public sector related issues.
Individuals and firms are repeatedly confronted with the influence of the government, e.g. when paying taxes, receiving subsidies, study grants or social security benefits, making use of roads, health care, public transport and education facilities, or casting a vote during elections. Indeed, in most developed countries the public sector has become an enormous economic force, with a size that amounts to 40-60 percent of GDP. This means, it often exceeds the size of markets in a functioning market economy, especially in countries like the Netherlands. The optimal division of tasks is still a highly debatable topic; Which should be carried out by the public sector (e.g. the government) and which ones should be left to the private sector? When should the government intervene and what are the welfare consequences for different groups in society? Which commodities and services should the government provide and how much? Should this be provided in a market-efficient manner or not? How high should taxes and public debt be? What kind of taxes should the government levy (e.g. income, consumption or corporate income taxation) and who bears eventually the burden of these taxes?
Nevertheless, due to the political nature of these questions, the answers are not always straightforward. Because of this, next to the theoretical framework, 'Economics of the Public Sector' is a course full of discussion to get interesting insights into the questions raised above.
The aim of this course is to analyse actual public policies and develop guidelines for government activities. We will address these questions, by explicitly referring to your textbooks in: microeconomics, macroeconomics and institutional economics.
This course focuses on the following academic skills:
- Analytical skills
- Being able to identify, interpret and critically evaluate the main line of reasoning, for more complex problems.
- Communication skills
- Being able to write a compact and instructed paper on a specific subject, both individually and in groups.
- Being able to provide useful and correct feedback on a presentation or small paper.
- Being able to accept and process feedback from others on a presentation or small assignment.
- Information processing
- Knowledge of potential sources for literature and data and the skills to explore these independently for a small research project.
- Being able to detect plagiarism and being able to avoid any kind of plagiarism.
- Providing correct references in text in a small research project (APA style).
- Providing a correct reference list for a small research project (APA style).
- Being able to present data in a correct and useful manner in a small and instructed research project.
- Academic reasoning
- Thinking conceptually, thinking in terms of theory.
- Asking critical questions, having a curiosity-driven and critical attitude.
- Analysing questions from different perspectives.
- Identifying links between problems.
- Social responsibility
- Being able to work effectively in teams for a specific project with limited intervention or instruction.
Lectures and tutorials.
- Written exam (40% of the final grade);
- Assignments to be handed in weekly (30% of the final grade);
- Paper in groups of 2 or 3 students (30% of the final grade, academic skills effective teamwork and writing).
Participation in 80% of the meetings, which includes not only physical but also mental participation, i.e. having prepared the exercises. Attendance of the first meeting and the participation in the discussion of the papers is compulsory.
In case online access is required for this course and you are not in the position to buy the access code, you are advised to contact the course coordinator for an alternative solution. Please note that access codes are not re-usable meaning that codes from second hand books do not work, as well as access codes from books with a different ISBN number. Separate or spare codes are usually not available.