Public finance (2016/2017)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Claudio Zoli
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
lezione 8 secondo semestre triennali Veronica Polin, Claudio Zoli
esercitazione 1 secondo semestre triennali Claudio Zoli

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide students with rigorous economic tools for the analysis of public policies. We will review the justifications for the economic role of the state, and supplement the analysis of theoretical models with evidence from Italian public policies. In particular we will focus on the reforms of the pensions system and of the taxation system.
At completion of the course students should be able to:
- Understand and evaluate critically the justifications for the public intervention in the economy.
- Analyse and assess rigorously public policies on the basis of economic theory.
- Master the economic analysis of the main italian taxation tools.
The teaching will be organized in open lectures and exercise classes.
Tutorials will be also provided to supplement the class teaching.


The course involve 80 hours of classroom teaching activities (organized in lectures and exercise classes).Class
Classroom activities will involve also interactions ad discussions with students and exercise solutions.

The course programme covers three parts.
Part I, Intorduction and public expenditure:
- Introduction to main tools for the analysis of public finance.
- Analysis of the public spending components related to market failures (public goods, externalities, social expenditure).
- Investigation of the main issues concerning the economic analysis of social security systems, with particular attention to the problems related to the reform of the Italian pension system.

Part II Economics of taxation:
- Introduction to the economic analysis of taxes.
- Distribution of income, wealth and poverty
- Theories of income (re)distribution
- Equity and efficiency in commodity and income taxation, and the effects of taxation on individual behaviour.
- An introduction to the Italian tax system and the economic analysis of Italian personal income tax.
- An introduction to the main economic issues related to fiscal federalism.

Part III The economic analysis of the Italian tax system
- Public revenue: economic classifications, compliance, horizontal equity and vertical equity.
- The Italian tax system: institutional and economic characteristics of the main taxes and effects of recent reforms. Income Tax for Individuals (IRPEF), corporate income tax (IRES).
- Indirect taxes. The tax revenues at regional level, for provinces and municipalities

The textbooks ofr the course are as follows:
- Harvey S. Rosen e Ted Gayer (2014): Scienza delle Finanze. McGraw-Hill (fourth edition).
- Paolo Bosi, M. Cecilia Guerra (2017): I tributi nell'economia italiana. Il Mulino. Preferably new edition updated to 2018 if available (usually published by the end of March of the reference year).

Additional text for selected readings:
Paolo Bosi (2015): Corso di scienza delle finanze (7a edizione). Il Mulino. (a selection of the material taken from some chapters of this book will be communicated during the lectures and on the e-learning web page).

The teaching methods will cover lectures and exercises. Tutoring activities will be develloped in parallel with lectures.
Students will be able to access in advance the material related to each lecture in order to stimulate the discussion in class.

The detailed outline of the course will be provided during the teaching period. Teaching material, exercises, and detailed outline will be made available on the University e-learning website of the ocurse.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written exam.
Sample copy of exam paper available on the course e-learning web page.
The written exam is organized in two sections
- a multiple choice test (for 1/3 of the final evaluation) whose aim is to assess the knowledge of the main concepts analysed in the module
- a set of exercises and essay questions (for 2/3 of the final evaluation) aiming at verifying the understandin and application of technical concepts and the ability to relate critically the main topics discussed in the module.
Students will also have the opportunity to complete theit evaluation through a mid term exam on the first part of the course and a final exam on the second part of the course. Both exams will receive an equal weight in the evaluation.