After completing the course, the student is expected to be able to: • explain the functioning of the public sector and what are the current problems within this area • apply the basic methods for analysis that are used to study the public sector
Why is economic analysis of the public sector a separate area of specialisation within the vast subject of economics? Is it the extent of collective power and its influence that have created this field, the public sector constitutes two thirds of GDP? Or is it the collective decision-making that differs from the mainly individual decisions in market models that motivates a special study? Both questions can be said to motivate studies of public economics. Overall goals in the public sector are efficiency, welfare distribution and freedom. What are the connections between the overall goals and the more concrete demands for justice, healthcare, education and public transports, to mention some of the tasks that are fulfiled by the public sector? The course presents analytical tools, shows how economists have used these analytical tools and discusses concrete applications against the background of Swedish and American conditions. The theoretical background is mainly the economic welfare theory that uses the concepts and analytical methods of micro theory. The course also refers to questions related to political decision-making, moral philosophy and legal financial theory. The course starts by dealing with theoretical starting points. Then, there are approaches to problems that relate to the expenses in the public sector and how these expenses are used. Finally, the incomes in the public sector are considered, i.e. mainly the taxation system and those problems that are due to the design of the taxation system.
The instruction consists of lectures with exercises and seminars. The seminar part starts with a planning seminar where the students are divided into groups and are assigned a subject. The essays are then being dealt with two compulsory seminars. Presence is required at the compulsory seminars. If someone is absent from one of these seminars, there is a possibility of making up for this during a pre-set period of time shortly after the end of the course. Absence from more than one of the seminars cannot be made up for so the student will have to return another semester and retake the entire seminar part. It is not possible to ”save” partial activities at seminars and all seminar activities where a pass has not been obtained will be reported in UPPDOK with the grade fail (U) on the seminar part.
The assessment consists of two parts: a written exam corresponding to 5 credits and writing a PM and seminars corresponding to 2.5 credits. The grades for the exam are pass with distinction (VG), pass (G) and fail (U). The grades for the seminars are pass (G) and fail (U). Each part is reported separately in UPPDOK. A total grade for the entire course amounting to 7.5 credits is awarded when all parts have been completed. The grade pass (G) requires a pass on all parts. The grade pass with distinction requires a pass with distinction (VG) on the exam and pass (G) on the seminar part.