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Semester: Fall 2010
Course: Economics 331,
Public Finance, section 1 (3 credits)
Instructor: Dr. Stonebraker
Office: 401 Thurmond
Office phone: 323-2488
Office hours: MW 1-2 p.m. and
3:30-4:30 p.m., TR
Other times are available by appointment.
- After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Describe the major tax and expenditure items of the U.S. government.
- Discuss the economic rationale for government involvement in the economy.
- Apply economic analysis to political decision making.
- Discuss the impact of taxes on efficiency and equity in the economy.
- Analyze current issues in public finance.
- Public Finance and Public Policy, by Jonathan Gruber, 3rd edition, Worth
Publishers, 2010. The website for the textbook (http://www.worthpublishers.com/gruber)
contains chapter outlines, flash cards for key terms, power point slides for
each chapter and, for those willing to register, self-testing quizzes.
- Grading will be straight letter grades: no plusses or minuses. Four exams
will determine 92% of your grade. A paper will determine
the remaining 8% of your grade. The weight for each assignment is:
- Participation (see below)
- Exam with lowest grade 20%
Exam with highest grade:
- Other exams (23% each): 46%
Exam questions will stress analysis rather than factual information and will be
based on the material presented in class. You will be expected to write short
essay/explanation answers and to solve graphical and numerical problems.
Students caught copying/cheating will be dealt with harshly. The final
exam will be given at 8 a.m. on Friday, December 10 and will include some
specified review material.
You may use non-programmable calculators during exams, but graphing calculators,
cell phone calculators or other programmable calculators are NOT allowed.
The approximate grading scale for exams will be:
90 - 100% A
76 - 89% B
64 - 75% C
54 - 63% D
0 - 53% F
- Make-up exams will be given to students with what I judge to be a valid
excuse. Needing more time to study is not a valid excuse. If you cannot make
an exam I expect to be notified as quickly as possible, preferably before the
exam. Students who do not notify me in a
timely manner should not expect a make-up exam.
- In addition to exams, a
short paper and presentation will determine 8%
of your grade. For details, click on the assignment.
- Class participation:
Each student automatically begins with four participation points added to their
final course average. Students who attend regularly, come to class on time, and
pay attention will keep these points throughout the semester. Students who
miss classes without good cause, who often come late, who sleep during
class, who use their cell phones during class, who read or study non-class material
during class, or who exhibit other problems of attentiveness will lose points.
- Attendance policy:
- You should attend every class on time and are responsible for all
class material whether or not you attend.
Students with multiple absences run the risk of
losing participation points. In addition, following the Winthrop University
Attendance Policy, students missing as many as 1/4 of the classes who do not
withdraw by the deadline will receive a grade of F, or U, whichever is
- Course withdrawal:
- Friday, October 22 is last day to withdraw from a full fall semester course. (Automatic N grade
is issued.) Students may not withdraw from a course after this date
without documented extenuating circumstances.
- Students with disabilities:
- Winthrop University is dedicated to providing
access to education. If you have a disability and need classroom
accommodations, please contact Gena Smith, Coordinator, Office of Disability
Services, at 323-3290, as soon as possible. Once you have your
Professor Notification Form, please tell me so that I am aware of your
accommodations well before the first assignment.
here for password-protected answers to problems.
I. Introduction: Overview of Government Finance
- A. Revenue and expenditures
- Chapter 1
- B. Deficits and debt
- Chapter 4
II. Theory of Government Economic Activity
- A. Markets and economic efficiency
- Chapter 2
Exam #1: Approximately
Friday, September 17
- B. Externalities and public goods
- Chapters 5 (omit section 5.4 on pp. 137-146) and 7
- C. Public choice
- Chapter 9
III. Government Activities: Uses of Funds
- A. Education
- Chapter 11
Exam #2: Approximately Wednesday, October 13
- B. Social insurance
- Chapters 12 and 13
- C. Health care
- Chapters 15 and 16
- IV. Government Activities: Sources of Funds
- A. Taxation in the U.S. and around the world
- Chapter 18
Exam #3: Approximately Monday, November 15
- B. Tax fairness and efficiency
Chapters19 and 20
(omit section 20.4 on pp. 611-616)
- C. Taxes on labor
- Chapter 21
- D. Taxes on savings
- Chapter 22
- E. Tax reform
- Chapter 25
Exam #4: Final exam:
Friday, December 10
- V. Issues in Public Finance
(if you are lucky)
- A. Taxes on wealth
- B. Income redistribution and welfare
- Chapter 17
Last modified 07/11/11