Economics 336: Public Economics

Lectures

Office Hours

Announcements

Writing Assignment 1

Writing Assignment 2

Lectures

Jump to Winter Term
Date Lecture Gruber and required readings Additional Material Tutorial (T3-4)
September 9 Introduction Chaps. 1-3 Course Outline
Problem set on Pareto efficiency
September 16 Excess burden Chap. 2
*Arum, Roksa, and Cho, "Improving Undergraduate Education: Findings and Policy Recommendations from the SSRC-CLA Longitudinal Project."
September 23 Tax avoidance Chap. 20.1
*Feldstein (JPE, 1995)
Kopczuk and Slemrod, "Dying to save taxes," REStat, 2003.
Feldstein (NTJ, 2008)
Take up PS
September 30 Optimal taxation Chap. 20
*Slemrod, 1990, "Optimal taxation and optimal tax systems"
West and Williams on optimal gasoline taxes, Journal of Public Economics, 2007
Problem set on optimal taxation
October 7 Tax incidence Chaps. 19
October 14 Taxation and income distribution Chaps. 17.1, 18
*Saez and Veall, 2005, "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence"
Gruber and Saez, 2000, "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Paper 7512.
A. Heisz, 2007, "Income Inequality and Redistribution in Canada: 1976 to 2004," Statistics Canada.
Take up PS2
October 21 Income support programs Chaps. 21, 14 Take up practice midterms
October 28 Class cancelled
November 4 Midterm exam I Practice midterm #1
Practice midterm #1 with solutions
Practice midterm #2
November 11 Business taxation Chap. 24 Mankiw, "The problem with the corporate tax," New York Times, 2010.
November 18 Fall break
November 25 Taxation of savings and consumption Chaps. 21
Robert Frank, 2005, "Progressive Consumption Taxation as a Remedy for the U.S. Savings Shortfall,"
December 2 Student presentations Notes on presentations:
You should speak for no more than FOUR minutes. There will be time for one or two comments from the class after each presentation. You should briefly summarize the main point in the article you wrote about, plus your reaction to it. You should try to create opportunities for others to respond to what you say -- extra points will be awarded to those who engage with the class. Be provocative!
Date Lecture Gruber and required readings Additional Material Tutorial (T3-4)
January 6 Public goods: Efficiency Chap. 7
*Samuelson, 1954
Problem set on public goods
January 13 Voting Chap. 9
*D. C. Mueller, 2003, "The size of government," Public Choice III, chap 21.
Problem set on voting
Tutorial on academic writing
January 20 Public choice Chap. 8
*C. Mulligan et al., "Do democracies have different public policies than non-democracies?" JEP, 2004.
Take up PS on charity, voting
January 27 Externalities Chap. 5.1-5.3
*Parry and Small, 2005,"Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?", AER.
Problem set on externalities
February 3 Policy responses to externalities Chap. 5.4-6.2
*Gilbert E. Metcalf, "Market-Based Policy Options to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," JEP, 2009.

Mintz and Olewiler, 2008, "A Simple Approach for Bettering the Environment and the Economy: Restructuring the Federal Fuel Excise Tax"
Take up PS on externalities, midterm
February 10 Midterm exam II Practice midterm #1
Practice midterm #1 solutions
Practice midterm #2
February 17 Reading Week
February 24 Economics of traffic congestion *Arnott and Small (1994) "Stuck in traffic", Macleans, January 2011.
March 3 Cost-benefit analysis Chap. 8
*Ashenfelter and Greenstone (JPE, 2004)
Chay and Greenstone (JPE, 2005)
March 10 Public-sector pricing Chap. 7 Problem set on pricing
March 17 Fiscal Federalism Chap. 10
Sample final exam
Solutions
Key concepts from the course
March 24 Class cancelled
April 1 Student presentations II Notes on presentations:
You should speak for no more than FOUR minutes. There will be time for one or two comments from the class after each presentation. You should briefly summarize the main point in the article you wrote about, plus your reaction to it. You should try to create opportunities for others to respond to what you say -- extra points will be awarded to those who engage with the class. Be provocative!
Review session with TA