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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: ECO3034 Module Title: PUBLIC ECONOMICS
Module Provider: Economics Short Name: ECO3034
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: NEWMAN ME Mrs (Economics)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability
All Year
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment

Weighting Towards Module Mark %

3 Hour Examination




Qualifying Condition(s)
A weighted aggregated mark of 40% is required to pass the module.
Module Overview

Microeconomic theory tells us that markets are Pareto efficient but that they may fail. How should we respond to such failures? This module addresses this question. It looks at the theory of market failure, and whether government failure might undermine the case for government intervention. It then asks how public intervention can be evaluated (so called cost-benefit analysis) and then examines a set of public policies in the UK -attempting to evaluate these.  The set of applications will include health and education policy, the economics of crime, economic policy and the family, tax and social security, industry regulation and the public finance initiative.


Module Aims
Studying this module will help you to apply and extend your microeconomics theory and to learn about a set of topical policy applications. It will help you to understand and evaluate these policies.
Learning Outcomes
On completing this module, the learning outcomes are such that students will be able to:-
  • Apply economic theory and quantitative methods to applied public policy topics
  • Show understanding of analytical methods
  • Work with abstract concepts and in a context of generality
  • Reason logically and work analytically
  • Understand the contexts in which problems are addressed
  • Identify appropriate economic models to analyse problems
  • Select and apply appropriate techniques to solve problems
  • Justify conclusions using economic arguments with appropriate rigour
Transferable skills:
  • Apply mathematical, statistical and graphical techniques in an appropriate manner
  • Communicate effectively and clearly in written and oral formats
Module Content
The following is an indication of the likely topics to be covered:-
  • Market failure (justifying government intervention; including the two fundamental welfare theorems)
  • Revenue (how to pay for it: optimal/actual income and expenditure taxation and, especially right now, public finances and public debt)
  • Expenditure (what you spend it on; anything from health, education; PFI, crime, etc)
  • CBA (how you determine efficient spending; risk aversion)
  • Government failure and voting mechanisms/public choice
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Lectures (40 hrs)
Selected Texts/Journals

There are several useful textbooks that cover a large amount of the module content. These will be supplemented by reference to book chapters and journal articles as required.  The main textbook is:

  • Public Finance and Public Choice, John Cullis and Philip Jones, OUP: Oxford, 3rd edition, 2009.
Supplementary texts are:
  • The Economics of Social Problems, Julian LeGrand, Carol Propper and Sarah Smith, Palgrave, 4th Edition, 2008.
  • Economics of the Public Sector, Joseph E. Stiglitz, W. W. Norton, 3rd Edition 2000
  • Economics of the Public Sector, Sarah Connolly and Alistair Munro, Pearson, 1999.
Last Updated

5 October 2010