Economics 337: Public Economics for Commerce


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 (R10-11, UC 179)
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 Market failure Chap. 5
*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.
Problem set #2
November 7 Fall break
November 14 Long-run fiscal policy Chap. 4
*L.J. Kotlikoff, 2006, "Is the United States bankrupt?" Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 235-250.
A. Auerbach, 2011, "Long-term sustainability in major economies".
D. Bernheim, 1989, "A neoclassical perspective on budget deficits," JEP.
November 21 Business and capital taxation *G. Zucman, 2014, "Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits," JEP 28, 121-148.
November 28 Public-sector enterprises *Frischmann and Hogendorn, 2015, "The marginal cost controversy," Journal of Economic Perspectives 29, 193-206. Problem set #3
Sample final exam
Take up PS2 and 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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