Master’s degree in Economics

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Public sector economics

Course code
Name of lecturers
Alessandro Sommacal, Claudio Zoli
Alessandro Sommacal
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
secondo semestre magistrali dal Feb 24, 2020 al May 29, 2020.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course covers the main contemporary issues in public finance and public economics. It is aimed at allowing students to read and understand the theoretical and empirical literature (both academic and policy-oriented) as well as to implement their own research. Reference is also made to main institutional aspects at the national and, where relevant, international level. Students will develop a sound knowledge of concepts and phenomena related to public finance and public intervention in the economy with special reference to: social security, taxation and investment/financial decisions; taxation and labor supply; public debt; market regulation; market auctions. Students will be able to assess critically the economic and social implications of the main public intervention schemes. Students will be also introduced to the use of scientific software to simulate the impact of public policies on individual behavior.


Main Subjects
- Taxation: impact on investment decisions and labor supply; choice of the tax base.
- Social security: impact on investment decisions and labor supply; pension reforms in an ageing society.
- Public debt: macroeconomic effects, sustainability.
- Imperfect Competition, Market Regulation and Regulatory Reforms; Auctions and Procurement.
During the course, it will be shown how to simulate economic models in order to assess quantitatively the impact of public policies.

The course will be integrated by invited lectures held by international professors on specific topics related to the subjects of the course.

Textbooks and references
For each topic students will refer to a selected bibliography which will be given at the beginning of the course.
Lecture notes, scientific papers and some chapters of the textbooks listed below will be the main references.
Selected teaching material will be made available on the e-learning web page.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Church J., Ware R. Industrial organization a strategic approach Mc Graw Hill 2000 0071166459
J. Hindriks and G. D. Myles Intermediate Public Economics MIT Press 2006 0262083442

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is written. This exam will test for: (a) the understanding of the theoretical tools (concepts and formal models) presented in the course, (b) knowledge of the relevant quantitative evidence (c) ability to use theoretical tools and quantitative evidence to critically discuss the impact of government intervention.
Accordingly, during the exam, candidates are expected to solve problems and\or write short essays on specific topics.

Moreover, candidates are given the opportunity to solve an homework assigned by the istructor during the lectures and\or prepare an essay on a topic assigned by the instructor on a specific issue related to the course.
The homework and the essay assessments will be part of the final evaluation.

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