ENR-22306 Public Sector Economics


Studiepunten 6.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. EH van der Werf
Lecturer(s)dr. R Haagsma
dr. EH van der Werf
Examiner(s)prof. dr. EC van Ierland

Language of instruction:

English and Dutch

Assumed knowledge on:

Microeconomics (ECH-21806) or Economics of Agribusiness (AEP-20306)


This course considers the role of the government in the economy. It does so from a microeconomic perspective. The course deals with the taxing and spending activities of the government, and how the government influences the allocation of resources and the distribution of income. Moreover, it introduces the subject of political economy by providing an economic analysis of political decision-making. The focus is not only theoretical but also empirical. The course extensively discusses the actual financial position of the Dutch government, the existing financial norms about government debts and budget deficits, the present organisation of the Dutch social security system and the health care system, and the relationship with the European Union. More specific topics include the role of privatisation, the implications of an ageing population, the flat tax, and the income distribution.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the problem of efficient provision of public goods;
- explain the different public responses to externalities;
- apply economic principles to the analysis of political decision-making;
- analyse the incidence and social efficiency of taxes;
- analyse the actual financial position of the Dutch government;
- evaluate the actual financial position of the Dutch government with respect to existing financial norms about government debts and budget deficits;
- analyse recent themes about the Dutch welfare state such as the economic consequences of the ageing population.


The course includes lectures (twice per week) and tutorials (once per week). In the lectures we present the main topics and some seminal models of public sector economics. Exercises are scheduled along with the lectures to foster acquaintance with economic models of the public sector. During exercises students actively solve problems. In the tutorials students discuss current issues of Dutch public policies.


Written examination/practical exercises/paper.


A course guide is available.

Verplicht voor: BEBEconomics and GovernanceBSc5AF