ECON 7032 - Public Economics PG

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

This course investigates the role of the public sector in the economic arena. We will attempt to explain why government intervention is needed, how it influences the behaviour of the private sector and what the welfare effects of such influences are. We will also survey political economy, which regards actions of the public sector as determined by political processes. Topics covered may include welfare economics, market failures, innovation policy, and political economy. Students are expected to be familiar with one variable calculus and optimization techniques at the level of Managerial Economics IID or equivalent.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 7032
    Course Public Economics PG
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites ECON 7011 or ECON 7241
    Incompatible ECON 3508
    Restrictions Available to MFin&BusEc, GCertAppEc, GDipAppEc, MAppEc students only
    Assessment Typically a mid-Semester test and final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Duygu Yengin

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Use the basic tools, concepts and models to solve problems in key topics in Public Economics;
    2 analyse policy challenges facing governments around the world and learn to find solutions to these challenges, taking into account obstacles to implementation;
    3 apply economic perspectives on activities of the government sector to become well-informed, engaged participants - citizens, voters, politicians and/or civil servants - in society.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Intermediate Public Economics, second edition, by Jean Hindriks and Gareth D. Myles (MIT Press, 2013)
    ISBN 978-0-262-01869-2
    Recommended Resources

    A recommended textbook is Economics of the Public Sector by J Stiglitz (Norton)

    It is strongly recommended that students read at least one prominent newspaper/magazine (e.g. The Australian or the Australian Financial Review or the Economist or the New York Times) to familiarise themselves with the important policy debates of the day. Additional readings will be provided as the course progresses.

    Online Learning
    The course makes extensive use of MyUni to post notes, assignments and for communication with the students.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Tutorials are devoted to enhancing students' understanding of the concepts covered in the lectures. Students are expected to actively participate in the tutorials, which includes doing the requisite reading, answering questions and participating in the conversations.

    Students (in groups of 3) are required to prepare a 10  minute presentation (with powerpoint) on one of the recommended readings, and present this to the lecturer . More details are given in myuni. 


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Typical weekly workload for the course is 12 hours a week, distributed as follows: 2 hours for the lecture, 1 hour for the tutorial, 3 hours for requisite revision/required readings, 3 hours for homework problems, 2 hours for the essay, and 1 hour for the additional readings.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The lecture schedule is as follows:
    Week 1  Introduction to Public Economics and Overview, HM Ch1

    Week 2  Equilibrium and Efficiency HM Ch2
    Week 3 Welfare and Public Goods HM Ch 6, Ch 13
    Week 4 Why Do Governments Intervene? HM Ch5
    Week 5 How Do Governments Intervene? Cost Benefit Analysis HM ch25
    Week 6 MIDTERM
    Week 7 Cost-Benefit Analysis HM 25

    Week 8 Inequality and Poverty HM Ch14
    Week 9 Collective Decision Making HM Ch 6, 11
    Week 10 Introduction to Tax and Tax Incidence
    Week 11 Commodity Taxation HM ch15
    Week 12 Income Taxation HM ch 16
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Group Presentations

    TBA in myuni

    10% 2,3
    Weekly quizzes

    from week 2

     20%   2,3
    Midterm Exam

    Week 6

    30% 1
    Final Exam Exam period 40% 1,2,3
    Total 100%
    Assessment Detail

    The midterm exam is a 1 hour long, closed-book exam to be held in class in Week 6. It will cover material taught in the first 5 lectures.

    The final exam will be held during the Uni exam period. It will be a 3 hour long, closed book exam.

    Midterm is redeemable by the Final exam.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Additional Assessment

    If a student receives 45-49 for their final mark for the course they will automatically be granted an additional assessment. This will most likely be in the form of a new exam (Additional Assessment) and will have the same weight as the original exam unless an alternative requirement (for example a hurdle requirement) is stated in this semester’s Course Outline. If, after replacing the original exam mark with the new exam mark, it is calculated that the student has passed the course, they will receive 50 Pass as their final result for the course (no higher) but if the calculation totals less than 50, their grade will be Fail and the higher of the original mark or the mark following the Additional Assessment will be recorded as the final result.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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