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Public Economics

  • Enseignant(s):   C.Terrier  
  • Titre en français: Economie publiques
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS: 6 crédits
  • Horaire: Semestre de printemps 2019-2020, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
  •  séances
  • Formation concernée: Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en économie politique



Lectures – Wednesdays 8:30am-12am (Location: Anthropole 5093)


Camille Terrier (

Maleke Fourati (

Teaching assistant

Ha My Bui (

This course studies the role of the government in the economy. The aim is to provide an understanding of reasons for government intervention in the economy, analyzing the benefits of possible government policies, and the responses of economic agents to the government's actions. The first part of the course covers tax incidence, theories of optimal labor tax, labor supply responses to taxes, and responses of taxable income to taxes. The second part covers market failures and government interventions. After having focused on labor taxation in the first section, we will cover capital taxation and corporate taxation in the second part, as well as topics on externalities, public goods, development, and specific areas of public spending such as health insurance, retirement policies, unemployment insurance, or public spending on education. The last class will focus on experimental measures of preferences for redistribution.

The class will combine lectures from Profs Terrier and Fourati, presentations of recent research work by researchers in public economics, and presentations of research papers by students from the class.


The classes will cover the following topics:

Part 1: Introduction and theory of optimal taxation

Class 1 (Feb 19): Introduction to public economics, taxes and transfers, theoretical and empirical tools

Class 2 (Feb 26): Tax incidence and optimal labor tax

Guest presentation by Hélène Benghalem on the taxation of temporary jobs.

Class 3 (March 4): Optimal labor tax

Class 4 (March 11): Labor supply response to taxes and responses of taxable income to taxes

Guest presentation by Matthias Krapf on behavioral responses to wealth taxes

Part 2: Market failures and government interventions

Class 5 (March 18): Capital taxation and corporate taxation

Class 6 (March 25): Special session on Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the 21st century”

Students will team up to present chapters of the book

Class 7 (April 1): Externalities and Public Goods

Class 8 (April 8): Public Economics and Development

Guest presentation by Léa Rouanet, Economist at the World Bank Africa Gender

Innovation Lab

Class 9 (April 22): Social Insurance and Health Insurance

Class 10 (April 29): Cost / benefit analysis and Political Economy

Guest presentation by Johannes Buggle on migration and refugees.

Class 11 (May 6): Retirement Policies

Class 12 (May 13): Education Policies and Public Spending on Education

Presentation by Camille Terrier on the fiscal spillover effect of charter schools in the U.S.

Class 13 (May 20): Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation

Guest presentation by Rafael Lalive on unemployment insurance

Class 14 (May 27): Preferences for redistribution and its experimental measures


Jonathan Gruber, Public Finance and Public Policy, 6th edition, Macmillan, 2019 is an optional textbook (the slides follow the Gruber book).

The other readings discussed in the lecture notes can be found in the reference list for each lecture. The pdf of the papers will be posted on moodle.


Students should be comfortable with undergraduate microeconomics and econometrics classes.


1ère tentative

Ecrit 2 heures
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Autorisée avec restrictions

The evaluation will consist of a final exam and in-class presentation:

- The final exam (2h) will cover the content of the classes. The grade will account for 75% of the final grade.

- Presentations (30 minutes). Students will present research papers in class. The presentations will last for 30 minutes. The grades received on these evaluations will account for 25% of the final grade. Evaluations criteria for these presentations will be presented in class.


Ecrit 2 heures
Non autorisée
Autorisée avec restrictions

The retake exam will consist of 75% of the final grade. Presentation still accounts for the remaning 25%.

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