- ARCHIVE as at 1 September 2013 for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Economic Issues in Public Policy (PGSP11246)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis is a course on economic issues in public policy. As such, it assumes no background in Economics or the mathematics of econometric modelling. Instead, this course focuses on how public policy decisions are constrained by economic considerations and how economic thinking can be used to evaluate policy outcomes.

The course consists of three separate, but related, sections. Firstly, students will be provided with an introduction to the economic context of public policy covering differing economic rationales and economic resources available for public policy. Section 2, will consider the relationship between governments and markets, looking at motivation in public services and attempts to introduce markets in public services, along with the impact of benefits and taxes on the operation of economic markets. In Finally, students will discuss how the growth of economic thinking within the public sector has influenced policy evaluation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  37
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
The course seeks to develop:

- an understanding of the place of economic and resourcing issues in public policy
- an ability to read economic literature about public policy
- an awareness of the growing use of 'markets' in the provision of public services and the political debates which have occurred around this
- an understanding of evaluation of policy in terms of efficiency and equity
- an ability to look critically at international comparative data on factors affecting public policy.
- an ability to present, communicate and debate policy relevant issues while drawing on numerical data to support a specific viewpoint
Assessment Information
1000 word short essay (25% of overall grade) and 3,000 word essay (75% of overall grade)
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Economic Rationales and Resources for Policy
Week 1 Efficiency verses Equity and Economists in Government
Week 2 Economic Rationales for Public Intervention
Week 3 Issues of Measurement
Week 4 Resources for Public Intervention - Macro-aspects
Week 5 Resources for Public Intervention - Micro-aspects
Government Problems with Market Solutions
Week 6 Government Policy and Individual Incentives - Policy Takers
Week 7 Government Policy and Individual Incentives - Policy Makers
Week 8 Using Market Signals in Public Services - Choice and Quasi-Markets
Week 9 Partial Privatization - Contracting Out and PPPs
Evaluating Policy and Performance
Week 10 Measuring Performance and Efficiency in Public Policy
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Barr N. (2001) The Welfare State as Piggy Bank, Oxford: OUP.

Barr N. (2004) The Economics of the Welfare State (4th edition), Oxford: OUP.

Begg D., Fischer S. and Dornbusch R. (2003) Economics (7th edition), McGraw-Hill. (Chapters 1-3)

Davis E (1998) Public Spending, London: Penguin.

Le Grand J, Propper C and Smith S (2008) The Economics of Social Problems, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Glennerster H and Hills J (1998) The State of Welfare (2nd edition), Oxford: OUP
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Paul Norris
Tel: (0131 6)50 3922
Course secretaryMiss Jodie Fleming
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 10 October 2013 5:08 am