Public Economics

lecge1312  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Public Economics
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
30.0 h + 15.0 h
Hindriks Jean;

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
The course begins with a descriptive analysis of the size of the public sector and the role of taxation and social security in income redistribution. This descriptive analysis highlights the different measures of inequality and poverty. The normative analysis addresses the issue of opportunity and optimal forms of state intervention policies in a market economy whose weaknesses are linked to external effects, public wealth, imperfect competition and problems of information. The issue of desirable forms of taxation and social insurance is also discussed. Within this theoretical framework, the course touches on issues relating to tax reform, social security and other redistribution policies: privatisation of social security, alternative methods of funding retirement pensions (distribution versus capitalisation), given that we are faced with an aging population, universal versus means-tested payments, redistribution in currency or in kind, the impact of mobility on possibilities of taxing and redistributing wealth and fiscal competition. The positive analysis studies the role of political processes in the choice and form of spending and taxation policies. In particular, it examines the choice of taxation and social insurance policies by majority voting.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 This course aims to teach students how to use economic analysis tools to study issues in the field of public sector economics, from the angle of the effectiveness of public intervention (as a remedy to market failings) and from the angle of wealth redistribution, examining taxation and social security. Emphasis will be laid on learning how to formulate a logical and coherent argument.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
Content The course is organized into three parts: descriptive, normative and positive approaches of public sector in general and questions of taxation and social security in particular. The areas studied included measures of inequality and poverty, unemployment insurance and pensions, the policies to combat poverty and the tax competition, the health care, environmental protection, the liberalisation of electricity and post markets, the transportation policy. Method The course consists of a package of readings. The teacher will summarize and comment these readings in the past. The student is encouraged to assimilate the field in solving exercises and questions during the course. The course is divided into two parts: the core curriculum which cover the basic theory of the public economy and the part deepening which uses this theory in different areas of application
Other information
Textbook : Hindriks and Myles (2006) Intermediate Public Economics , The MIT Press every two weeks, a meeting of two exercises based on the "Solutions manuel" of textbook pdf copy of which will bring into line on Icampus. (2 credits)
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Public Administration

Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Bachelor in Economics and Management

Minor in Economics