Fall 2008 Course Description

Advanced Policy Economics

Section Title: State & Local Public Finance
Instructor(s): Shama Gamkhar
Course: P A 393L - Advanced Policy Economics
(previously Political Economy II)
Unique Number: 64960
Day & Time: Mondays, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.106
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: This course seeks to develop student capabilities in the use of analytical tools for policy analysis and decision-making in the area of public finance with a focus on state and local government issues. The course will address fiscal policy and federalism issues in the provision and consumption of public goods and services by state and local governments. After briefly discussing the principles of public finance, we will consider various applications of these principles to policy issues such as: (1) Tax policy evaluation (income, property and sales taxes); (2) Pricing of public services—user charges and fees; (3) Privatization; (3) Economic development policies; (5) Debt and other forms of long-term finance; (6) Designing effective intergovernmental grants; (7) Public school finance (K-12 education). These policy areas will be examined for equity, economic efficiency, some issues in administration and effectiveness in meeting other policy goals.

Students are expected to have an understanding of the material covered in an introductory microeconomics course and an introductory public financial management (PFM) course prior to enrolling in this class. Alternatively, if a student wishes to enroll in the class who has not taken these courses, additional readings will be provided by the instructor for self-study of the relevant materials in microeconomics and PFM.

The course format will primarily be a combination of lectures, discussions and student- presentations. A few guest speakers will be invited to speak on topical issues related to the course materials. The assignments will include case studies (group and individual), and a research paper to be written individually by the students on a topic or their choice, but related to the course content. The course qualifies for fulfilling course requirements in the Public Management and Leadership specialization.

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