This course analyzes what role the government plays and should play in a market economy, especially those policies that work through taxes and government spending. It covers topics such as tax and welfare policy, unemployment insurance, social security, environmental protection, and state and local policy. The course emphasizes recent empirical research on policy issues and will teach students how to conduct such studies.
The first half of the course, taught by Professor Stantcheva, will cover the basic principles of public economics. These principles will be used to shed light on current questions and debates on tax policy, the provision of public goods, and social insurance.
The second half of the course, taught by Professor Veuger, will highlight recent empirical research on business taxation, the regulatory state, political economy, and multilevel government. In this part of course we will also see how the theoretical and empirical approaches covered in the course can be and have been used to inform and assess the economic policy response to the COVID-19 crisis, in particular in the United States and Europe.
Also offered by the Economics Department as Ec 1410. Please note, this is a jointly offered course hosted by another Harvard school and, accordingly, students must adhere to the academic and attendance policies of that school.