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ES20019: Public finance - economics of taxation

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Economics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Before taking this module you must take ES20011
Description: Aims:
To make students familiar with main concepts in taxation and, more generally, public finance theory.
To enable students to apply principles of microeconomics to public finance.
To enable students to understand and assess policy issues in taxation and public finance.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of the course unit, students should be able to: (i) give a microeconomic account of main issues in taxation and public finance; (ii) understand and assess policy debates in public finance.

The following are facilitated and assessed: Abstract reasoning; problem solving skills; diagrammatic skills.

The main focus of the course is on taxation. We begin with the study of welfare costs of taxation, its effects on economic outcomes, tax incidence, and optimal commodity and income taxation. We continue with the discussion of the role of taxation in correcting for negative externalities, the choice between taxation and government borrowing, and tax evasion. We conclude the unit with the study of private revenue-generating methods applied in practice such as crowdfunding.
This unit complements Public Economics (ES20068), which offers a broader overview of topics in public economics. ES20068 is recommended to take prior to taking ES20019, but is not a pre-requisite.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

ES20019 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Economics
  • UHES-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Economics (Year 2)
  • UHES-AAB03 : BSc(Hons) Economics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UHES-AKB03 : BSc(Hons) Economics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHES-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Economics and Politics (Year 2)
  • UHES-AAB01 : BSc(Hons) Economics and Politics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UHES-AKB01 : BSc(Hons) Economics and Politics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UHES-ACB01 : BSc(Hons) Economics and Politics with Combined Placement and Study Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHES-ACB03 : BSc(Hons) Economics with Combined Placement and Study Abroad (Year 2)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.