The course covers the main contemporary issues in public finance and public economics. It is aimed at allowing students to read and understand the theoretical and empirical literature (both academic and policy-oriented) as well as to implement their own empirical research. Reference is also made to main institutional aspects at the national and, where relevant, international level.
Students will have a sound knowledge of concepts and phenomena related to public finance and public intervention in the economy such as: market failures (public goods, externalities, asymmetric information, natural monopoly); merit goods; general taxation principles; equity and efficiency criteria for assessing the tax and the welfare system; tax incidence and excess burden.
Public finance and demographic changes, with special reference to the effects of welfare systems in an ageing society.
Public debt sustainability and intergenerational equity: concepts and measurements.
Social Security: the impact of the social security system on the economy. The impact of pension systems on savings, labor supply, human capital accumulation and fertility.
Imperfect Competition, Market Regulation and Regulatory Reforms; Auctions and Procurement.
Corporate taxation and capital assets taxation in a national and international setting.
Textbooks and references:
For each topic students will refer to a selected bibliography which will be given at the beginning of the course.
Students needing to refresh basic public finance concepts may refer to the following textbooks (listed in an increasing order of complexity):
J. Gruber, Public Finance and Public Policy, Worth Publishers.
H. Rosen, Public Finance, Mac Graw Hill;
J. Stiglitz, The Economics of the Public Sector, Norton & C;
R. Musgrave and P. Musgrave, Public Finance in Theory and Practice, Mc Graw Hill;
J. Hindriks and G. D. Myles, Intermediate Public Economics, MIT Press
Written examination: Candidates are expected to write short essays on specific topics and/or solve problems.
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