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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of this course is to familiarise students of public policy with relevant economic issues. The course is split into three main sections. Section 1 discusses the assumptions underlying core economic thinking and introduces students to core concepts and measures required to understand how orthodox economic approaches conceptualise people┐s motivations and behavior and subsequently how we should think of societies. Section 2 then explores how these ways of economic thinking manifest in four concrete areas of economic policy that states engage in. In section 3 we then investigate the connections between those specific issues to understand how the contemporary dominant ways of economic thinking affect states┐ economic policies in a systematic fashion.
Course description 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
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1000 word short essay (25% of overall grade) and 3,000 word essay (75% of overall grade)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To become familiar with the key concepts and terms used in debates around economic issues in public policy.
  2. To be able to develop an analytical framework for critically appraising public policy approaches in economic terms.
  3. To demonstrate a critical understanding of issues around measuring ┐the size of the state┐.
  4. To demonstrate an ability to critically appraise arguments that try to situate policies within a state-market discourse.
  5. To be in a position to critically discuss the application of economic theories to contemporary public policy issues.
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
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jan Eichhorn
Tel: (0131 6)51 2921
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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