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Spring 2012 - 62140 - PA393L - Advanced Policy Economics

State & Local Public Finance

Instructor(s): Gamkhar, Shama
Unique Number: 62140
Day & Time: T 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.314
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

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, federalism issues and the effects of the fiscal crises over the last two years on 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 and reforms in income, property and sales taxes; (2) Pricing of public services—user charges and fees; (3) Privatization and public private partnerships; (3) Economic development policies and the use of fiscal instruments such as tax abatements and tax increment financing; (5) Debt and other forms of long-term finance; (6) Intergovernmental grants; (7) Public school finance (focus on school aid programs).

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.