Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

ECON308 Public Economics

The role of government in society is examined using the tools and methods of microeconomics. Topics include welfare economics, public goods, externalities, optimal taxation and voting models.

This paper discusses examines the ways government interventions affect the economy. The paper begins with an empirical and theoretical overview of the development of government expenditure programmes in OECD countries. It then explores several standard analytical approaches to government programmes by examining income redistribution, social security, tax policies, and government finance (debt and asset positions) from both macroeconomic and microeconomic perspectives. The second half of the paper extends these concepts by analysing three topics of contemporary importance: local government finance; environmental policy; and the non-government provision of public services.

Paper title Public Economics
Paper code ECON308
Subject Economics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $829.65
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,993.30

^ Top of page

ECON 201 or ECON 271
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Commerce, Science
Teaching staff
Andrew Coleman (Coordinator and lecturer); Viktoria Kahui; Stephen Knowles; Paul Thorsnes
Joel Slemrod and John Bakija (2017) Taxing Ourselves, 5th edition.(MIT Press)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Ethics, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this paper, you should be able to:
  • Develop an appreciation of the reasons for a public sector in a market-oriented economy;
  • Apply economic analysis to understand the macro-and micro implications of differentpublic sector interventions in the economy; and
  • Understand specific problems arising in certain areas of public-sector activity.

^ Top of page


Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28, 34, 36-41
Thursday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 29-33
A2 Wednesday 13:00-13:50 29-33
A3 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-33
A4 Thursday 15:00-15:50 29-33