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Programme & Unit Catalogues

SP50319: Public policy and economics

[Page last updated: 01 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Academic Year
Assessment Summary: CW 60%, EX 20%, OR 20%
Assessment Detail:
  • MCQ (EX 20%)
  • Group Presentation (OR 20%)
  • Policy Brief (CW 60%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: At the end of this unit, students will have
* robust understanding of key economic concepts, their application and relevance to diverse areas of public policy. (T/A)
* in-depth understanding of how economics of public policy and public finances shape the framing and practicability of policy choices and modes of delivery. (T/F/A)
* Wide-ranging understanding of key contemporary economic issues and their implications for the development of public policy in a range of national and transnational settings. (T/F/A)

Aims: This unit is oriented to students with no necessary previous economics training and offers
* Introduction to key concepts used in the economic analysis of public policy.
* Review and interpretation of the key approaches and tools typically used in the economic analysis of public policy.
* Wide-ranging review and in-depth analysis of key economic issues in transnational and national government spheres that shape public policy, applied to specific areas of contemporary public policy.

Skills: At the end of this unit, students will be able to
* give an economic account and evaluation of government interventions and policies;
* understand and critically assess public policy debates with a grounding in economic analysis.
Professional/practice skills
* critically read and explain range of economic data and evaluate its relevance to an area of public policy.
* Select, apply, and assess key tools of economic analysis and their relevance to specific cases.
* Collate and communicate complex research and analysis for presentation to diverse policy audiences.
* Apply concepts and tools to empirical analysis of specific.
* Work collaboratively in small groups, to short deadlines.

Content: The unit has three main blocks. The first of these is introductory and designed to familiarise students with conceptual tools relevant to economic analysis of public policy, that are explored and applied in the substantive remainder of the unit.

Programme availability:

SP50319 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • 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.