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ES50124: Public finance

[Page last updated: 12 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Economics
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 70%, EX 30%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (CW 30%)
  • Coursework 2 (CW 40%)
  • Exam (EX 30%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: To provide students with practical knowledge and understanding of policy issues in public finance;
To make students familiar with main analytical concepts and principles in public finance;
To enable students to apply economic tools to analyse constructively main issues in public finance.

Learning Outcomes: After successful completion of this unit, students should be able to
(i) give an economic analysis of main issues in public finance;
(ii) understand and critically assess policy debates in public finance.

Skills: Abstract reasoning (FA); problem solving skills (FA); diagrammatic skills (FA); information synthesis (FA); writing skills (FA).

Content: The main focus of this unit is on taxation and its effects on economy and society more generally. We begin with the study of welfare costs of taxation, its economic and social outcomes, tax incidence, and optimal commodity and income taxation. We continue with the discussion of the role of taxation in correcting for negative externalities, budget deficit and public debt, tax evasion and avoidance, choice between taxation and government borrowing. We also study alternative methods for public revenue generation such as Internet crowdfunding.

Programme availability:

ES50124 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Economics


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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