Economics of the Welfare State

Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

By the end of this course, students should have acquired the following
- Academic and research skills: students know how economic hypotheses
that are relevant in welfare state economics and insurance economics can
be formulated and tested empirically, and draw policy conclusions – both
using statistical and mathematical techniques.
- Bridging theory and practice – knowledge: students understand the
relevant literature in the field of welfare state economics and
recognize important contributions here.
- Bridging theory and practice – application: students can use relevant
concepts – both theoretical and empirical – to address real-life
dilemmas in the design of welfare state programs, in particular the key
equity and efficiency arguments that pertain.
- Professional social skills: students can present and communicate their
own research findings and those from other studies.
- Broadening your horizon: students can meaningfully use insights from
welfare state economics when addressing pertinent social and societal
- Self-awareness: students can independently identify and fill in gaps
in their knowledge of welfare states, in order to acquire the skills
that are needed to become a professional.

Inhoud vak

Governments implement welfare state programs to protect their citizens
to social risks such as falling sick, becoming unemployed, ageing or the
occurrence of health costs. These programs, that range from public
benefits to the regulation of private insurance markets, may have a
strong impact on the income, well-being and the behavior of individuals.
Welfare state programs are typically justified by equity and public
responsibility, but at the same time the growth of public expenditures
force governments to make more efficient use of existing resources. This
gives rise to a tension between equity and efficiency considerations.

This course provides an economic perspective on the design of equitable
and efficient welfare state programs. The course starts with exploring
the fundamental arguments for state intervention and the provision of
social insurance, using concepts from insurance theory. Next, attention
will be devoted to different welfare state interventions, including cash
benefits (such as unemployment insurance, sick pay, disability insurance
and pensions) and benefits in kind programs (e.g. health care).
Throughout the course, these programs will be assessed along the line of
equity and efficiency measures, using insights from the empirical
literature on the effect of welfare state interventions on individual
behavior and social outcomes. Particularly in the working group sessions
with paper posters and essays, these empirical studies will be discussed


Lectures, student poster discussions/presentations and an essay


Written interim examination and grade for presentations/essays/ student
participation during working group sessions


Barr, The Economics of the Welfare State, Oxford University Press,
Edition 4 (or higher)

In addition, various articles are mandatory as well. These are all
included in the Course Manual.

Algemene informatie

Vakcode E_EC_EWS
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P2
Vakniveau 400
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit School of Business and Economics
Vakcoördinator prof. dr. P.W.C. Koning
Examinator prof. dr. P.W.C. Koning

Praktische informatie

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Werkvormen Hoorcollege, Werkgroep

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