Public Economics

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Public Economics

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Pre-requisites: EC219 Economic Analysis or EC201 Intermediate Microeconomics and EC202 Intermediate Macroeconomics
    Non-modular pre-requisites:

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Summary module description:
    This module provides students with the opportunity to analyse the essential foundations in the public economic theory from both a normative and a positive perspective.

    The module aims to examine the rationale for government intervention in the economy. The first part of the module will look at the justification for and limitations of government intervention in the economy, combining microeconomic theory with applications to contemporary policy issues. The second part of the module will focus on the revenue side and analyse some of the principles involved in tax design and the equity and efficiency implications of taxation.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    At the end of the module students should be able to:
    (1) understand the main justifications for and the limitations of government intervention in a
    market economy;
    (2) use economic theory to analyse public policy issues and compare the outcomes of alternative policies;
    (3) describe the means used to finance government programmes and their economic implications;
    (4) contribute to the contemporary debates concerning the capabilities and limitations of the government against the market sector.

    Additional outcomes:
    Students will have the opportunity to further develop their oral and written communication skills through classroom discussions and written assignments.

    Outline content:
    Topics to be covered include: theories of the public sector; market efficiency and market failure; equity and redistribution; public goods and publicly provided private goods; state ownership, privatisation and regulation; social insurance; taxation and deficit financing.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    Lectures will be used to introduce and discuss the material. Students are expected to prepare for lectures by reading the suggested literature and to actively participate in classroom discussions. Office hours are available for students to consult the lecturer on an individual basis.

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written exam 70%
    Written assignment including essay 30%

    Other information on summative assessment:
    There will be two 1,800 word essays, the first to be submitted mid-term and the second to be submitted by the end of the term in which the module is taught. Each essay is worth 15% of the overall mark

    Formative assessment methods:

    Penalties for late submission:
    The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
    where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
    where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

    The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One 3 hour unseen written paper.
    Part 3 examinations are held in the Summer term.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A minimum overall mark of 40%.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.