ØSS115 Public Economics

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Due to Covid-19, changes may occur in course descriptions for the autumn semester of 2020. Changes in each course will be published on Studentweb or Canvas. When a course description has been changed there, the description on web is no longer valid. Examples of such changes could be accomplishment of practice, course type, or whether letter grades or passed/not passed will be used as grading scales.

Contents and structure

This course is based on and complements BØA203 Mikroøkonomi (the basic course in Microeconomics). The course provide students with a thorough understanding of market performance, market failure and public policies to enhance economic efficiency, social welfare and justice.


  • Antitrust policy
  • Externalities and environmental policy
  • Public provision and production of goods
  • Taxes
  • Social security
  • Distribution
  • Cost-Benefit analysis

Learning Outcome

On completion of this course students will have:


  • Basic concepts of welfare economics
  • Analysing the consequences of antitrust policies w.r.t. economic efficiency
  • Analysing the consequences of environmental policies w.r.t. economic efficiency
  • Analysing the welfare arguments in favor of public supply of goods, including the organization of the production
  • Analysing how taxes affect economic efficiency, including the principles of optimal taxation
  • Analysing the welfare arguments in favor of social security and redistribution as well as the consequences for economic efficiency
  • Knowledge of ethical theories relevant for assessing economic policies, including the trade-off between economic efficiency and fairness
  • Basic cost-benefit analysis


  • Formulate, illustrate, solve and apply micro­economc and welfare economic models
  • Simple cost-benefit analyses
  • Critical reflection on public policies and the inherent ethical dilemmas


  • On completion of this course students will be able to use abstract models

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

BØA203 Mikroøkonomi (Introductory course in microeconomics).

Teaching methods

Lectures and problem solving.

Course requirements

2 out of 3 written submissions must be approved before taking the exam. Approvals are valid in the five consecutive semesters.


5 hour written exam. The exam may be digital

Information regarding time and location is to be found on Studentweb.

Grading: A-F

Examination support material

Basic calculator.

More about examination support material

Course reductions

  • ØSS111 (1) - Microeconomics II - Reduction: 3.5 studypoints
  • ØSO011 (1) - Public Economics - Reduction: 5 studypoints