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Public Economics

  • Enseignant(s):   M.Fourati   E.Rubolino  
  • Titre en français: Economie publiques
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS: 6 crédits
  • Horaire: Semestre de printemps 2021-2022, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
  •  séances
  • site web du cours site web du cours
  • Formation concernée: Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en économie politique
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[attention] Le syllabus du cours est entrain d'être modifié par le professeur responsable. Veuillez consulter cette page à nouveau dans quelques jours. --- A titre informatif uniquement, voici l'ancien syllabus :


This course studies the role of the government in the economy. The aim is to provide an understanding of reasons for government intervention in the economy, analyzing the benefits of possible government policies, and the responses of economic agents to the government's actions. The first part of the course covers tax incidence, theories of optimal labor tax, labor supply responses to taxes, and responses of taxable income to taxes. The second part covers market failures and government interventions. We will cover labor taxation, capital taxation and corporate taxation in the first part, as well as topics on externalities, public goods, development, and specific areas of public spending such as health insurance, retirement policies, unemployment insurance, or public spending on education in the second part. The last class will focus on experimental measures of preferences for redistribution. The class will combine lectures from Profs Fourati and Rubolino, presentations of recent research work by researchers in public economics, and presentations of research papers by students from the class.


This is an hybrid class, implying that some lectures will be in person and others online. The course outline indicates whether the class will be taught in person or online. The structure of the class in person will be as follow: Lectures – Wednesdays 8:15 am to 12 am (Location: Anthropole 5196) Each class consists of: 1. Theoretical section - We will cover an important topic in the field of Public Economics. 2. Empirical section - We will present a research paper on the topic covered in the theoretical section. - Students will present research papers on the topic covered in the theoretical section. The structure of the class online will be as follow: Lectures – Wednesdays 10 am to 2 am (Location: Zoom) Each class will consist of: 1. Pre-recorded videos - We will share the videos one week before the class on Moodle - The videos will cover the theoretical section of an important topic in the field of Public Economics. - We expect students to watch the videos before coming to class. - To incentivize watching the classes, we will organize group brainstorms at the beginning of some sessions in Zoom breakout rooms. 2. Weekly live sessions on Zoom - We will share the Zoom link with the students registered to the class. - We will present a research paper on the topic covered in the theoretical section. - Students will present research papers on the topic covered in the theoretical section. Course outline The classes will cover the following topics: Part 1: Introduction and theory of optimal taxation Class 1 (Feb 23): Introduction to public economics – in person Class 2 (March 2): Tax incidence – in person Class 3 (March 9): Capital taxation and corporate taxation – online Class 4 (March 16): Two guest lectures by researchers – in person - Matthias Krapf on "Behavioral responses to wealth taxes in Switzerland - Malka Guillot on "Tax Incidence Among the Working Superrich" Class 5 (March 23): Optimal labor tax – in person Part 2: Market failures and government interventions Class 6 (March 30): Externalities and Public Goods – online Class 7 (April 6): Public Economics and Development – online Class 8 (April 13): Special session on Thomas Piketty's book "Capital in the 21st century" – online Students will team up to present chapters of the book Class 9 (April 27): Cost / benefit analysis and Political Economy – online Class 10 (May 4): Social Insurance and Health Insurance – online Class 11 (May 11): Special session on a public economics conference – TBA Combating Inequality: Rethinking Policies to Reduce Inequality in Advanced Economies Students will team up to present sessions of the conference Class 12 (May 18): Education Policies and Public Spending on Education – in person Class 13 (May 25): Unemployment Insurance – in person Class 14 (June 1): Preferences for redistribution – in person


Jonathan Gruber, Public Finance and Public Policy, 6th edition, Macmillan, 2019 is an optional textbook (the slides follow the Gruber book). The other readings discussed in the lecture notes can be found in the reference list for each lecture. The pdf of the papers will be posted on Moodle.


Students should be comfortable with undergraduate microeconomics and econometrics classes.



1ère tentative

Ecrit 2h00 heures
The evaluation will consist of a final exam and papers presentation: - The final exam (2h) will be open book and conducted via MoodleExam on the campus. The exam will consist of multiple-choice questions and questions related to the lectures. It will cover the content of all lecture notes but not students' presentations or guest speakers' presentations. The grade will account for 60% of the final grade. - Presentations (30 minutes). Students will present - Presentation 1. Research papers. (20%) The presentations will be done live by the students during the class. Evaluations criteria for these presentations will be presented in class. - Presentation 2 (10%). Students will chose between: . A book chapter from T. Piketty's book – Class 8 . A summary of a conference talk – Class 11 - In-class Participation (10%) - Class attendance (with video on for online classes ! .) - Class participation



Ecrit 2h00 heures
Non autorisée

The retake exam will consist of 50% of the final grade. Presentation still accounts for the remaning 50%.

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