This course uses the basic tools of microeconomics to analyse the role of government and the rationale for and design of taxation and expenditure policy. The topics to be covered include a review of basic microeconomics, welfare economics, cost-benefit analysis, public goods, externalities, public choice, public expenditure programs (including education, health, pensions and welfare payments), and taxation (including efficiency and equity issues, tax incidence, Australian tax policy, and fiscal federalism). By the end of the course students should have an appreciation of the principal forms of market failure that provide a justification for government intervention, be familiar with the main policy instruments used to mitigate market failures and the principles that guide their optimal use, but also understand the limitations of government intervention - for instance, understand how the presence of information problems both explains the forms that policy intervention take and imposes limits on what can be achieved by it. The course also covers topics on public choice and provides an alternative, more critical, view of government. The public choice perspective places more emphasis on modelling the political process and argues that this, like the market mechanism, has readily identifiable sources of failure.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon successful completion of the requirements for this course, students should be able to:
- Identify and explain the principal forms of market failure that provide a justification for government intervention;
- Describe the main policy instruments used to mitigate market failures and explain the principles that guide their optimal use;
- Explain the limitations of government intervention - for instance, illustrate how the presence of information problems both explains the forms that policy intervention take and imposes limits on what can be achieved by it.
- Identify the trade-offs captured by public economics models; including the assumptions, relevance, and limitations of those models
- Analyse policy problems and assess arguments appearing in the policy debate.
- Distinguish the normative and the positive approaches to public economics and, in particular, identify and explain public choice models of government
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Requisite and Incompatibility
You will need to contact the Research School of Economics to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.