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Department of Economics Economics 378 Ohio Wesleyan University Public Finance Delaware, Ohio Robert J. Gitter Fall 2009 SYLLABUS Course Description – This course deals with the government’s role in the allocation of goods and services in our economy. Both theoretical and empirical aspects of the government’s role are explored. Among the topics dealt with in this course are public goods (defense expenditures), externalities (the economics of the environment), income distribution (transfer programs), the economics of education, public utilities and the effects of taxation. Course Goals – Government at all levels plays a large role in our economy. It is hoped that the student taking this course will understand the reasons for government intervention and the consequences of these actions. We will also explore the tools of analysis used by government. Knowledge gained in this area should serve the students well in their future endeavors in the public or private sector. Prerequisites – ECON 252 (Intermediate Microeconomics) and ECON 251 (Research Methods) both with a grade of C – or better. Course Structure – The course meets twice each week. The lectures will deal with applications of the material from the text and also cover new material. The text for the course is Public Finance and Public Policy (2nd edition) by Jonathan Gruber. The book is short and additional readings will be assigned as well as a shorter book for a book discussion that will be assigned later. Since Intermediate Microeconomics and Research Methods are prerequisites for this course, students are expected to review the relevant sections of that text as needed. Lectures will begin at 1:10 and run until 2:25 when we are on schedule. Otherwise they may run until 3:00 Examinations – There will be three exams in this course; two midterms and a final exam. The midterms and final will cover material from assigned readings and lectures. The final will be comprehensive in nature. Any exam missed will be scored zero. There will also be homework most weeks. Assignments are to be turned in on time. The weight of the various course requirements in determining the final grade are: Date % of Grade First Midterm Exam Tuesday, September 29 25% Second Midterm Exam To Be Determined 25% Final Exam Wednesday, Dec. 16th 1:30 P.M. 25% Homework 17.5% Book Discussion To Be Determined 7.5% 100% Examinations/Attendance – Students prefer a choice of questions on an examination. Not having to answer all questions, however, reduces the incentive to attend class. In order to encourage attendance, I have adopted the following policy. The course is divided into three parts; before the first mid-term, between the first and second mid-term and after the second mid-term. Students who miss no more than one class in a section of the course will be able to omit one question on the subsequent examination. Students who miss more than one class must answer all questions. Job interviews, illness, athletic events, travel, etc., all count as absences. Grading Scale - A 86 and above A- 85-86 B+ 84-85 B 78-84 B- 77-78 C+ 76-77 C 71-76 C- 70-71 D+ 69-70 D 66-69 D- 65-66 F-65 or below Office Hours: Room 217, R.W. Corns Building MTWThF - 10:30-11:30 And by appointment. Office Phone - 368-3536 E-Mail – email@example.com (a great way to reach me) Homepage – http://go.owu.edu/~rjgitter (Please check for changes in assignments and updates) READING LIST Note: Additional readings will be assigned some weeks. These additional readings will be greater in weeks when only one chapter is assigned. If possible, they will be posted on the website. Please check this site often for updates. Week Dates Topics Readings in Rosen 1 Aug. 25 & 27 Intro. & Review of Microeconomics Theory Ch. 1, 2 2 Sept. 1 & 3 The Tools of Public Finance Ch. 3, 4 3 Sept. 8 & 10 Externalities Ch. 5, 6 4 Sept. 15 & 17 Public Goods and the Economics of Defense Ch. 7 5 Sept. 22 & 24 The Economics of Education Ch. 11 6 Sept. 29 FIRST MID TERM EXAM . The schedule for the remainder of the class will be distributed later.
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