TrainingsMasterEconomicsCoursesMicroeconomics IV - Public economics

Master EconomicsUE Microeconomics IV - Public economics


The objective of this course is to study the role of state in the economy. It is designed to provide students with a broad overview of issues investigated in public economics. We will review the rational foundations of public intervention and explore some of the tools used by government to act : taxes and transfers, the provision of public goods, or the design of welfare schemes. Most topics will be approached from both theoretical and empirical points of view.

Course outline :

Lecture 1 – Introduction to public economics

  • Foundations of public intervention – Normative and positive public economics – Some numbers about public intervention – Empirical methods for public economics

Lecture 2 – Social choice and social welfare

  • Axiomatic approach to social choice – Social welfare functions

Lecture 3 – Public goods and externalities

  • Public goods – Externalities

Lecture 4 – Taxation of commodities

  • Tax incidence – Optimal commodity taxation

Lecture 5 – Taxation of labor

  • Optimal labor taxation – Some empirics around labor taxation

Lecture 6 – Taxation of capital

  • Taxes in an intertemporal framework – Optimal capital income taxation – Taxation of inheritances

Lecture 7 – Social insurance

  • Unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation – Disability insurance – Health insurance

Professional skills

To understand the rationale of public action and the trade-offs faced by any public policy.

To be able to apply economic analysis tools to public action.

Languages used

Main languages used by this course:

  • Français
  • Anglais


  • Intermediate Public Economics, by J. Hindriks and G.D. Myles - The MIT Press
  • Public Economics, by G.D. Myles - Cambridge University Press
  • Lectures on Public Economics, by A.B. Atkinson and J.E. Stiglitz - McGraw-Hill
  • The Economics of Taxation, by B. Salanié - The MIT Press
  • Microeconomic Theory, by A. Mas-Colell, M. Whinston and J. Green - Oxford University Press 2014

Structure and organisation

Lectures and problem sets.

Volume of teachings

  • Lectures: 24 hours