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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Dan Goldhaber
BPOLST 501
Bothell Campus

Public Finance and Budgeting

Analysis of government expenditures and revenues. Uses economic theory to examine key pubic policies in areas such as health, education, and labor. Emphasizes policy rationales and impacts regarding efficiency and equity. Develops accounting concepts necessary for budgeting analysis. Prerequisite: Microeconomics. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This course will cover the fundamentals of public choice theory. You will learn about externalities and public goods, social insurance and redistribution as well as arguments for and against different types of government intervention in the market.

Student learning goals

To understand how economic principals may be applied to understanding public policy options.

To gain a broad perspective on government spending at different levels in the United States and abroad.

To learn about different types of taxes and understand tax incidence.

To comprehend that there may be tradeoffs between equity/social justice and economic efficiency.

To be able to apply the principles learned to a contemporary policy dilemma.

General method of instruction

The class will include traditional lectures, classroom debate and discussion, and student presentations of some material.

Recommended preparation

BPOLST 500 and Microeconomics. Students are STRONGLY encouraged to make sure they are familiar with X-Y plane, graphing utility, and budget constraints (these are concepts covered in Chapter 2 of Gruber, pp. 26-37)

Class assignments and grading

We will mainly use Gruber's Public Finance and Public Policy text, but also rely on working through an example of government provision/subsidization of public transportation.

Grades will be based on a combination of several quizzes, a class presentation, and a final in-class exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Dan Goldhaber
Date: 01/29/2013