Econ 131 - Undergraduate Public Economics

Spring 2014


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.


Syllabus

Lecture Slides:

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

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)
PRACTICE Final Exam 2013   final exam 2013 solution