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Public Finance - SPY00022M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Enrico Reuter
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

Equip students with the relevant knowledge of the key concepts and the principles of public finance.

  • Familiarize students with public sector accounting, management and accountability.
  • Enable students to critically discuss management aspects in relation to public finance such as management of public expenditure and revenue.
  • Enable students to engage in a critical discussion of recent debates, developments and trends in public finance.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should be able to:

  • Define public finance and public economics.
  • Discuss the controversies and challenges around the role of government in public finance.
  • Understand different concepts of efficiency, including Pareto efficiency.
  • Explain why market failure occurs and how it may be addressed in relation to public finance.
  • Understand the main features and principles of fiscal policies, i.e. revenue, expenditure and budget policy and process.
  • Describe the evolution and the features of public sector management and accountability and its impact on the effectiveness of financial management.
  • Understand public choice theory, its underpinning assumptions and its relationship with public sector reform and privatisation.
  • Understand and critically engage with questions of public debt.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The lead marker (the module tutor) will include comments about the content, structure, and evidence used etc. to provide you with constructive information that will enable you to improve on future work. The feedback a tutor can offer can be invaluable to your studies, so it is important you read this carefully

We aim to return your marked work to you within one month of its submission.

Feedback will be given in three ways:

(1) Comments within the actual text will highlight specific points and examples that the marker wants to draw to your attention.

(2) The marking criteria will be highlighted to show how your assignment has been rated against those criteria. This will enable you to calibrate your performance against a consistent scale, and therefore to aim to improve in specific areas.

(3) Finally the marker will provide a narrative summary in which the main points will be set out and any major areas for improvement highlighted.

Indicative reading

Chung, D. (2009) Developing an Analytical Framework for Analysing and Assessing Public-Private Partnerships: A Hospital Case Study, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, Vol.19, pp. 69-90.

Connolly, S. and Munro, A. (1999) Economics of the Public Sector,  Pearson

Potrafke, N. (2010) The growth of public health expenditures in OECD countries: Do government ideology and electoral motives matter?, Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 29 (6) pp. 797-810

Winer, S.L. and Hettich, W. (2009) Structure and Coherence in the Political Economy of Public Finance, in D.A. Wittman & B.R. Weingast, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, Oxford, Oxford University Press

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students