Advanced economics: Concepts and policy applications

This class is tailored to students with some prior knowledge and/or training in economics. The course will cover a selected set of policy-relevant topics in applied microeconomics. In doing so, we will cover conceptual foundations – in particular, empirical methods used in establishing causal relationships – and apply these to a rich set of policy domains. Starting from evidence on income inequality, the first part of the class (Session 1-8) discusses redistributive policies, in particular income taxation, welfare programmes (or a universal basic income scheme) and minimum wages. We will empirically explore (and quantify) responses to these policies and analyse welfare implications. The last third of the course (Sessions 9-12) discusses corrective policies in the context of externalities. Next to traditional environmental externalities (and conventional, Pigouvian responses such as CO2 taxation) we will also explore the correction of “internalities” (e.g., in the context of sugar taxation). Note that the course will be centred on micro-policies which affect individual and household decision-making. We will not cover macroeconomic questions and will hardly discuss the choices of firms.