Econ 131 - Undergraduate Public Economics

Spring 2014 - Taught by Emmanuel Saez


This course focuses on the role of the government in the economy. The aim is to provide an understanding of the reasons for government intervention in the economy, analyzing the benefits of possible government policies, and the response of economic agents to the government's actions. The course covers tax policy and inequality, social insurance programs, public goods, environmental protection, and the interaction between different levels of government. Special emphasis is on current policy issues such as social security reform, health care reform, income tax reform, and budget deficits.

Each lecture is posted in pdf format with linked references. The source tex file and the pdf tables and figures are also provided separately so that you can use and adapt this material for your own lectures (no permission needed).


Syllabus

Lecture Slides:

Introduction (tex) (figs&tables)
Theoretical Tools (tex) (figs&tables)
Empirical Tools (not covered in lectures) (tex) (figs&tables)
Budget and Debt Analysis (tex) (figs&tables)
Introduction to Taxes and Transfers and Inequality (tex) (figs&tables)
Tax Incidence (tex) (figs&tables)
Optimal Labor Income Taxation (tex) (figs&tables)
Taxes and Labor Supply (tex) (figs&tables)
Taxes and Reported Income (tex) (figs&tables)
Taxes on Capital and Savings (tex) (figs&tables)
Corporate Taxation (partially covered in class) (tex) (figs&tables)
Externalities (tex) (figs&tables)
Public Goods (tex) (figs&tables)
Cost-Benefit Analysis (not covered in class) (tex) (figs&tables)
Political Economy (tex) (figs&tables)
State and Local Governments (tex) (figs&tables)
Education (tex) (figs&tables)
Social Insurance: Introduction (tex) (figs&tables)
Social Security and Retirement (tex) (figs&tables)
Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, Workers' Compensation (tex) (figs&tables)
Health Insurance (tex) (figs&tables)

Assignments:

ps1  (due date: February 24)  ps1 solutions (available after due date)
ps2  (due date: March 10)  ps2 solutions (available after due date)
PRACTICE Midterm from Spring 2013  
  midterm 2013 solution
Midterm  (in class 4:10pm-5:30pm: March 19)  midterm solutions (available after midterm) midterm grades statistics
ps3  (due date: April 7)  ps3 solutions (available after due date)
ps4  (due date: April 28)  ps4 solutions (available after due date)
Final Exam 2014   final exam 2014 solution final grades statistics 2014