ECON 4015 - Public Economics IV (H)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

This course deals with theoretical foundations of public economics with a focus on public goods. The topics covered may include efficiency in allocation of public goods, private and public provision of public goods, externalities, VCG mechanisms, congestion etc. Students will do presentations of public economics topics of their choice to get a broader view of the subject .

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 4015
    Course Public Economics IV (H)
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge ECON 3508 or ECON 4011
    Restrictions Available only to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Economics (Honours) program
    Assessment Typically, assignments & final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Ralph-Christopher Bayer

    Professor Ralph Bayer
    Nexus 10,  Level 4. Room 4.19
    phone: 83134666

    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. Recognize and apply advanced tools and models used in the field of Public Economics.
    2. Modify, and suitably apply models used in public economics in their own research.
    3. Draw conclusions for good public policy from theoretical models and empirical tests.
    4. Formulate a perspective on how public policies are formulated and how they differ from the prescribed standards of normative public economics.
    5. Discuss and critique academic articles and policies using advanced tools from the discipline of public economics.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The required textbook, if any, will be announced in MyUni and via email. Any academic articles to be covered will  also be announced in MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    You could buy the following recommended books or borrow them from the library. 

    • Public Economics, Gareth D.Myles, Cambridge University Press
    • The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods and Club Goods, Richard Cornes and Todd Sandler, Cambridge University Press
    • Lectures on Public Economics, Anthony Atkinson and Joseph E. Stiglitz, McGraw-Hill BookCo.
    • Public Goods, Theories and Evidence. Batina and Ihori. Springer-Verlag (available as online text through Adelaide Uni library)

    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
    The course will be delivered in the standard lecture-mode. Students are expected to actively participate in the lectures, which includes doing the requisite reading, answering questions and participating in the conversations. Some lectures will be offered in a tutorial model in which we will use the problem-solving approach to underscore the concepts covered in the lectures.

    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: 4 hours for the lectures/tutorials, 4 hours for requisite revisions/required readings, 4 hours for problem solving and critical thinking about research questions.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Teaching & Learning Activities Related Learning Outcomes
    Lectures 1,2
    Seminars 3,4


    Topic I: Optimal taxation and redistribution (weeks 1-4)
    - equity efficiency trade-off
    - optimal income taxation under differnt assumptions
    - negative income tax (including uncoditional cash transfers)

    Topic II: Externalities and govenment intervention (weeks 5-8)
    - Public goods
    - Club goods
    - Pollution
    - Behaviour in a Pandemic
    - Vaccination

    Topic III: Topics in Behavioural and Experimental Public Finace (weeks 9-12)
    - Private Public goods provision
    - Tax evasion and enfocement
    - Public choice (elections etc.)
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Classroom discussions, presentations
  • 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 Date/ Week Weight Length(Word,Time) Learning Outcomes
    2 Individual Assignments 5,8 40% TBA 1,2,3
    End-of-Semester Group Research Project (including a 30 min Zoom presentation) 12 30% TBA 4,5
    Final Online Exam exam period 30% TBA 1,2,3
    Total 100%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The assignments, unless specified as a group assignment, must be solved individually. You are free to consult external sources as long as you properly acknowledge them.
    Assessment Detail
    Classroom participation will include newsroom presentations (discussing recent news related to the public economics topics covered in the course). 

    More details on assesment will be given in MyUni and during the lecture.

    The due dates of assignments will be available in MyUni. If you need to extra time, you must seek prior permission, which may be granted at the discretion of the lecturer.
    Course Grading

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

    M11 (Honours Mark Scheme)
    GradeGrade reflects following criteria for allocation of gradeReported on Official Transcript
    Fail A mark between 1-49 F
    Third Class A mark between 50-59 3
    Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B
    Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A
    First Class A mark between 80-100 1
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN

    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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