Public finance (2016/2017)

Course code
Alessandro Sommacal
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
lezione 8 secondo semestre triennali Alessandro Sommacal
esercitazione 1 secondo semestre triennali Alessandro Sommacal

Lesson timetable

secondo semestre triennali
Activity Day Time Type Place Note
lezione Tuesday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall A  
lezione Wednesday 10:10 AM - 11:50 AM lesson Lecture Hall A  
lezione Thursday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall A  
lezione Friday 10:10 AM - 11:50 AM lesson Lecture Hall A  

Learning outcomes

The goal of this course is to provide the students with the basic tools needed to analyse the role of the government. Within the theoretical framework of welfare economics, we study government intervention aimed at correcting market failures and redistributing income. A special attention is given to the specific institutional features of public revenues and expenditures in Italy.

Student learning outcomes: students will be able to understand the theoretical motivations behind government intervention; they will be also able to apply the theory to the analysis of the specific public finance tools used in Italy.


-Positive and normative public finance; the fundamental theorems of welfare economics; market failures (externalities; public goods; asymmetric information).
-Government revenues and expenditures: a taxonomy.
- Revenues: impact on individual decisions and fiscal incidence; tax policy in a modern fiscal system.
- Social expenditure: the pension system; the health care system.
- Social choice theory
- Fiscal federalism

A specific attention will be devoted to the institutional features of the Italian system.
Useful material can be found on the e-learning website.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is split into two parts:
- a preliminary multiple choice test (weight: 1/3)
- a written exam with exercises and theoretical questions (weight: 2/3)
Admission to the second part is conditioned on the achievement of a minimum score in the first part (14/30).

The exam may (optionally) be split into two parts: the first will be scheduled during the course, with questions of topics covered until that point; the second, scheduled for the same date date as the whole entire exam, with questions on the remaining part of the programme. The weight of the two parts in determining the final grade is the same.