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Spring 2014 - 63725 - PA393L - Advanced Policy Economics

Dissecting Political and Economic Liberalism

Instructor(s): Varoufakis, Yanis
Unique Number: 63725
Day & Time: W 6:00 pm -9:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.216/219
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Students are required to take an additional three-hour course in policy economics, selected from among a set of courses focusing on the application of economic theory and techniques to a specific area of public policy. Course options include macroeconomics, public finance, regulation, international trade and finance, natural resources and environmental policy, health policy, transportation policy, human resource development, urban and regional economic development, international development, education policy, social policy, and labor economics. Not all options are offered every year. This course is usually taken in the second year. 

Section Description

Liberalism has been in perpetual flux over the last 150 years but still, in its many guises, retains its dominant position both in social science and in public policy debates. Based on a commitment to the sovereign ‘individual’, it blends a series of (often contradictory) arguments vis-à-vis freedom, equity and efficiency into a defence of market societies and of the institutions which such societies have weaved into the contemporary state. This course examines the ways in which Liberalism has steadily undermined but also regenerated itself. Starting from an assessment of its capacity at first to explain the ‘individual’ and later to seek out the type of distribution of socio-economic power most compatible with the ideals of Liberty, the course sweeps across the various manifestations of the liberal tradition in economics, politics and public policy. It ends with a re-assessment, following the financial collapse of 2008, the Great Recession and the recent debates on economic re-regulation, of what it means to be free within a social context and the influence that this evolving meaning has had, and is having, on public policy.

Assessment will be based on one presentation, a short piece (to be written as a take-home examination) on one of economics’ analytical traditions and a longer essay on a topic mutually agreed with the instructor.