Economics 336: Public Economics


Office Hours


Writing Assignments

For both writing assignments, the Faculty's usual policies on plagiarism apply. See How Not To Plagiarize. Papers will be submitted through


Date Lecture Gruber and required readings Additional Material Tutorial (R2-3, UC244)
September 12 Introduction Chaps. 1-3
Course Outline
Problem set on taxation
Tutorial on mathematical methods (background, not required)
September 19 Tax avoidance and excess burden Chap. 2
*Feldstein (JPE, 1995)
Tutorial on writing term papers
September 26 Tax incidence Chap. 19
Poterba, 1989, "Lifetime incidence and the distribution of tax burdens"
October 3 Taxation and income distribution I Chap. 17, 18
*Saez and Veall, 2005, "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence"
October 10 Taxation and income distribution II Chap. 17, 18
P. Diamond and E. Saez, 2011, "The case for a progressive tax: From basic research to policy recommendations".
Take up PS1
October 17 Student presentations I Notes on presentations:
You should speak for no more than FIVE minutes. There will be time for comments from the class after each presentation. You should briefly summarize the main point in the article you wrote about, plus your reaction to it. You should try to create opportunities for others to respond to what you say -- extra points will be awarded to those who engage with the class. Be provocative!
Sample midterm #1
Sample midterm #2
Midterm prep
October 24 Midterm exam
October 31 Externalities Chap. 5. and 6.1-6.2
*Parry and Small, 2005,"Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?", AER.
*Gilbert E. Metcalf, "Market-Based Policy Options to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," JEP, 2009.
Tracy Snoddon and Debora Vannijnatten, 2016, "Carbon Pricing and Intergovernmental Relations in Canada," Institute for Research on Public Policy
Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. 2013. "The SO2 Allowance Trading System: The Ironic History of a Grand Policy Experiment." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(1): 103-22.
Dale Beugin and Chris Ragan, The real costs and benefits of carbon pricing, MacLean's, Apr 30, 2018
Problem set #2
Take up midterm
November 7 Fall break
November 14 Public goods Chap. 7
*Samuelson, 1954
November 21 Voting Chap. 9
*D. C. Mueller, 2003, "The size of government," Public Choice III, chap 21.
November 28 Public choice Chap. 8
*C. Mulligan et al., "Do democracies have different public policies than non-democracies?" JEP, 2004.
Problem set #3
Sample final exam
Take up PS3
December 5 Student presentations II For guidance on presentations, see above. Each speaker has 4 minutes, followed by 2 minutes for discussion. Exam prep
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