Online Programs

ECON 541: Public Economics

This course examines the key issues related to what is typically referred to as public economics and public finance. You will explore the idea that the role of government is largely due to market failures and equity considerations. While market failures and equity considerations provide the rational for government interventions, you will learn how actual interventions are determined and influenced by voting and rent seeking. After taking this course, you should be able to explain and analyze the main government interventions in the economy.

This course provides you with a strong grasp of:

  • Why economists generally favor the market to solve economic problems
  • The main justifications for government intervention, which are related to equity issues; but also due to the presence of public goods; externalities; and asymmetric information
  • How and why governments raise money, mostly via taxation, to finance their interventions

Course Objectives:

  • Introduce the concepts of market equilibrium and efficiency
  • Break down departures from the efficiency of the market
  • Examine the political economy of voting and rent-seeking
  • Study the main public sector programs
  • Understand the financing of government intervention, especially through taxation and deficit financing
  • Explore the fiscal federalism and fiscal competition

This course leaves you with a strong handle on market equilibrium, efficiency, actual expenditures, and revenues; as well as public goods; poverty; social security; and taxation and how each relates to the economy.

This course is taught by Assistant Professor Bernhard Gunter. Professor Gunter is an international scholar in development economics. His areas of expertise include development macroeconomics, debt sustainability analysis, and the social impact of globalization. He is also interested in analyzing poverty reduction policies, macroeconomic development strategies, and the economic challenges of climate change.

His current research focuses on development issues of Bangladesh, and his work has been published in several preeminent international journals, including World Development, Development Policy Review and Third World Quarterly. He serves as the president of the Bangladesh Development Research Center (BDRC) and has continuing engagements with various international developmental organizations.

Click here for the official course description from the American University catalog.

Learn more today. Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions representative, or request more information here.