Econ 131 - Undergraduate Public Economics

Spring 2023 - Taught by Emmanuel Saez

This course does not use B-space. 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 health care reform, tax reform, and inequality.

Each lecture is posted in pdf format with linked references. There is no required textbook. 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). Slides will be updated about 1 week before each lecture

Sections' notes are posted online (Eva Davoine) and (Carmen Durrer)


Lecture Slides:

Introduction (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Theoretical Tools (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Empirical Tools (not covered in lectures) (tex) (figs&tables)
Budget and Debt Analysis (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Introduction to Taxes and Transfers and Inequality (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Tax Incidence (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Optimal Labor Income Taxation (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Taxes and Labor Supply (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Responses of Reported Taxable Income to Taxes (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Corporate Taxation (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Taxes on Capital and Savings (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Externalities (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Public Goods (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Cost-Benefit Analysis (not covered in class) (tex) (figs&tables)
Political Economy (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
State and Local Governments (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Education (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Social Insurance: Introduction (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Health Insurance (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Social Security and Retirement (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)
Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, Workers' Compensation (updated 2023) (tex) (figs&tables)


ps1  (due date: March 1, 11:59pm)  ps1 solutions (available after due date)
PRACTICE Midterm from Spring 2021  
  midterm 2021 solution
PRACTICE Midterm from Spring 2022  
  midterm 2022 solution
PRACTICE Midterm from Spring 2023  
  midterm 2023 solution
Midterm  (in class 5:10pm-6:30pm: March 8)  midterm solutions (available after midterm)
ps2  (due date: FRIDAY March 24, 11:59pm)  ps2 solutions (available after due date)
ps3  (due date: April 19, 11:59pm)  ps3 solutions (available after due date)
Final Exam (Friday 3-6pm: May 12)   final exam solution  
Final Exam 2021   final exam 2021 solution   grades statistics 2021
Final Exam 2022   final exam 2022 solution   grades statistics 2022
Final Exam 2023   final exam 2023 solution   grades statistics 2023