Ec 490: Advanced Public Economics

Semester:  Winter 2020 (syllabus)
Instructor: Ashley C. Craig
Assistant: Ellen Stuart
Details: Click to expand

Description: What role should governments play in the economy? We will review the conditions under which free markets lead to Pareto efficient outcomes — i.e., the government has no way to make everyone better off. We will then discuss how governments may want to intervene to correct for market failures. Even when markets lead to efficient outcomes, we will study why they may use imperfect tools such as taxes to change how outcomes like income are distributed between individuals and groups.

The aim of the course is to foster an understanding of the tools required to analyze and evaluate government policies, and develop the student’s ability to communicate the conclusions of their analysis to different audiences. We will cover the philosophical foundations of Public Economics, key empirical facts, and both theoretical and empirical methods. Providing time permits, topics will include labor and capital income taxation, externalities, public goods, education, social insurance and discrimination.

Grading: The grade is based on participation, four problem sets and four policy memoranda. There are 130 points in this class. However, both your lowest combined memo grade and your lowest problem set grade will be dropped from your final grade, and so your final grade will be out of 100 points. You may therefore choose to submit only three of the four problem sets, and three of the four memo assignments. However, we recommend that you attempt all eight assignments.

Typical List of Topics:
1. Introduction to Public Economics
2. Defining and Measuring Inequality
3. Theoretical Tools for Public Economics
4. Empirical Tools for Public Economics
5. Tax Incidence & Efficiency Costs of Taxation
6. Reading and Writing for Researchers and Policymakers
7. Optimal Labor Income Taxation
8. Taxes and Labor Supply
9. Taxes and Reported Income
10. Externalities
11. Public Goods
12. Taxes on Capital and Savings
13. Corporate Taxation
14. Behavioral Public Finance
15. Political Economy
16. Social Insurance (intro) and Health Insurance (Part I)
17. Health Insurance (Part II)
18. Unemployment Insurance
19. Education
20. Intergenerational Inequality
21. Discrimination

Ec 684: Public Finance

Semester:  Winter 2020 (syllabus for my half)
Instructors: Ashley C. Craig, James Hines, Jr.
Details: Click to expand

Description: This course comprises one quarter of the Public Economics sequence of the University of Michigan graduate program in economics. The course asks what role governments should play in the economy, with the aim of developing students’ understanding of the basic theoretical models and tools used in the field. We will cover the philosophical foundations of Public Economics, key empirical facts, labor income and consumption taxation, externalities, and human capital.

Typical List of Topics:
1. Introduction to Public Economics
2. Tax Incidence
3. Efficiency Costs of Taxation
4. Welfare Functions, Equality of Opportunity
5. Optimal Income Taxation
6. Taxes, Labor Supply and Reported Income
7. Commodity Taxation
8. Externalities & Other Spillovers
9. Human Capital
10. Insurance

Ec 1030: Psychology & Economics

Semester:  Spring 2017 (Harvard)
Instructors: David LaibsonTomasz Strzalecki
Assistants: Ashley Craig, David Martin (2020 JMC)

Ec 1420: American Economic Policy

Semester: Fall 2016 (Harvard)
Instructors: Katherine Baicker, Martin Feldstein, Jeffrey Liebman, Larry Summers
Assistants: Ashley Craig, Lisa Abraham (2020 JMC), Hannah Shaffer, Max Harris, Michael Reher
Awards: Derek Bok Center Certificate of Distinction in Teaching

Ec 1002: Introductory Macroeconomics

Semester: Semester 2 2009 (University of Sydney)
Instructor: Catherine Roc
Teaching Assistants: Ashley Craig and others
Awards: Dean’s Citation for Tutoring

Ec 1001: Introductory Microeconomics

Semester: Semester 1 2009 (University of Sydney)
Instructor: Andrew Wait
Teaching Assistants: Ashley Craig and others