ECON 3508 - Public Economics III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

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, and political economy. Students are expected to be familiar with one variable calculus and optimization techniques at the level required in Managerial Economics II or Intermediate Microeconomics II.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 3508
    Course Public Economics III
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites ECON 2506 or ECON 2514 or ECON 2516.
    Assessment Typically mid-Semester test & final exam & (optional) essay
    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 learn the basic tools, concepts and models necessary for competence in key topics in Public Economics
    2 learn to analyse policy challenges facing governments around the world and learn about potential solutions to these challenges as well as obstacles in implementing them
    3 learn a set of perspectives into the economic activities of the government sector that will help them become enlightened participants - engaged 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 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    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 (2013), by Jean Hindriks and Gareth D. Myles (MIT Press)
    ISBN 978-0-262-01869-2

    Recommended Resources
    A recommended textbook is Economics of the Public Sector by Joseph 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 New York Times or the Economist) 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 and assignments and for communication with the students.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be delivered through on-line lectures posted on MyUni. Tutorials will use the problem-solving approach to underscore 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. 

    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 per week, distributed as follows: 2 hours for the lecture, 1 hour for the tutorial, 3 hours for requisite revision/required readings, 4 hours for homework problems and 2 hours for 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 Ch6, 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 Does it Work? Inequality and Poverty  HM Ch14
    Week 8 Collective Decision Making  HM Ch 6, 11
    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
    Weekly Quizzes, online From Week 2, online 15% 1,2,3
    Assignments Weeks 5,9, 11, online submission 15% 2,3
    Midterm Exam Week 6, in lecture  30% 1
    Final Exam

    Exam period 40% 1,2,3
    Assessment Detail
    The midterm exam is a 1 hour long in Week 6. It will cover material taught in the first 5 lectures.

    The final exam will be held during the University exam period. It will be a 3 hour long 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

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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