Public Economics and Policy


Course Objective

The aim of the course is to prepare the conceptual groundwork for policy
analyses and expositions later in the Public Policy program. Students
will learn the central concepts and theories from the field of Public
Economics and will learn how to apply these in policy analysis and
advice. The course will seek to strike an optimal balance between on the
one hand mastering the analytical and technical skills required to be
able to understand and apply micro and welfare economic theory for
policy analysis and advice (thus contributing to the programme's
ambitions on developing "Academic and Research Skills"), and, on the
other, the ability to apply these skills in analyzing and assessing
concrete contemporary policy issues ("Bridging Theory and Practice").
This aim is strived for by the course’s set-up, in which lectures will
be used for in-depth discussion and explanation of theory, and tutorials
are designed to learn to apply this to concrete policies and to present
this to and discuss this with fellow students and teachers
("Professional Social Skills"). By its very nature, the course will in
its applications focus on important contemporary societal challenges
("Broadening your Horizon").

Course Content

The course will address topics such as taxation of households and firms,
tax incidence, public debt, distributional effects of taxation and
public expenditure, theories of the state, efficiency and welfare,
optimal taxation and Ramsey pricing, market failure, externalities, and
non-local and local public goods. The twelve lectures will seek to not
only make the technical treatment and theoretical concepts accessible,
but also to draw the links with contemporary policy

Teaching Methods

The course consists of twelve lectures and six tutorial sessions, and
ends with a written exam. The exact schedule will be announced shortly
via Canvas.

Method of Assessment

The grading will be based on
- Tutorial scores (25%)
- Written exam (75%)

Entry Requirements

Material covered in the first three weeks of Period 1, in the course
Microeconomics and Methods.


Hindriks, J. and G.D. Myles (2006) Intermediate Public Economics, MIT
Press, Cambridge MA. (ISBN-13: 978-0-262-08344-7;

Target Audience

Students in the Public Policy program.

Recommended background knowledge

Intermediate microeconomics, for example at the level of Varian’s text
on Intermediate Economics (Hal R. Varian: Intermediate Microeconomics: A
modern Approach. 6th edition or later. New York: W.W. Norton), and,
where less formal training has been acquired, a working knowledge of

General Information

Course Code E_EC_PEP
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator prof. dr. E.T. Verhoef
Examiner prof. dr. E.T. Verhoef
Teaching Staff prof. dr. H.L.F. de Groot

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: