Public Finance


Units: 12


Full description can be found here: The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of how government finances itself from both positive and normative points of view. To accomplish this, the course reviews: i] rationales for government intervention in the market place, ii] analyzes methods of resolving conflicts over the size of the public sector budget, iii] extensively analyzes the rationales and issues of various sources of public revenue, and iv] reviews the effects of public sector spending and taxes on the aggregate economy. While the examples are largely drawn from the United States, examples are also drawn from other industrial democracies and non-democracies. Because the subject matter of public spending and revenues can easily consume an entire academic year of study, Public Finance focuses mainly on the revenue side of the public budget. Two courses typically offered by Professor Strauss in the Spring build on Public Finance. Public Expenditure Analysis (90-774) deals with techniques for evaluating private and public expenditure and capital spending decisions. Regional Finance and Education Policy (90-817) deals in-depth with issues surrounding multi-level government finance from US and international perspectives. Regional Finance and Education Policy presumes the material covered in Public Finance; students interested in taking Regional Finance and Education Policy should take Public Finance. It is suggested that students interested in Public Expenditure Analysis also take Public Finance.