Public Economics - ECON5530

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon checkmark-circle


The module focuses on the role of the government in the economy. It uses the tools of microeconomics and empirical analysis to study the impact of government policies on individual behaviour and the distribution of resources in the economy.

The module explores the economic arguments for and against government intervention in the economy, also introducing insights from behavioural economics into the analysis and design of public policies.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 16 hours
Private study hours: 134
Total study hours: 150


This is an optional module for all Single and Joint Honours Degree Programmes in Economics.

The module is NOT available to students across other degree programmes in the University

Method of assessment

Essay (maximum 1500 words) (20%)
Examination, 2 hours (80%)

**Please note that the exam in May/June 2023 will be Online (24 hour window)**

Reassessment Instrument: 100% exam

Indicative reading

• Barr, N. (2012), The Economics of the Welfare State (5th ed.), OUP.
• Cullis, J. and P. Jones (2009), Public Finance and Public Choice (3rd ed.), McGraw-Hill.
• Hindriks, J. and G. Myles (2013), Intermediate Public Economics (2nd ed.), MIT.
• Stiglitz, J. (2015), Economics of the Public Sector (4th ed.), Norton.
• Congdon, William J., Jeffrey R. Kling and Sendhil Mullainathan (2011). Policy and Choice. Public finance through the lens of behavioral economics. Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1. Critically evaluate the desirability and the consequences of governmental policies in terms of efficient resource allocation

8.2. Discuss critically key issues in public economics and the problems associated with collective decision making.

8.3 Demonstrate critical understanding of the theory of collective decision-making and its implications

8.4 Demonstrate awareness across a range of policy issues and relevant analytical tools


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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