Social Economics and Policy
This information is for the 2019/20 session.
Prof John Hills OLD 2.62
This course is available on the BSc in Criminology, BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission to General Course students.
Places on this course are limited and priority is given to Social Policy students in the first instance. If places remain available once Social Policy students have been accommodated, they will be offered on a first come first served basis to students from outside the Department.
This course is not available to third year students.
No prior knowledge of economics is required.
This course provides an introduction to the economics of social policy and the economics of the income distribution. The course begins by introducing basic economic concepts and principles and discussing their application to different social policy areas, including childcare, education, health care, social care, housing and the environment. Key concepts include supply, demand and elasticities, externalities and market failure, private insurance and social insurance.
The course goes on to analyse the distribution of household income and the drivers of poverty and inequality, including unemployment, low wages and wage inequality. It covers concepts of human capital and productivity and looks at a range of policy responses, including minimum wage legislation, trade union policy, government economic management, taxation and the social security system.
Throughout, the course emphasises the importance of understanding political goals in assessing the effectiveness or justice of economic and social policies, and seeks to encourage students to draw on both theory and empirical evidence in addressing its core questions.
The course is taught without mathematics and is designed to be suitable both for students with no prior knowledge of economics and for those who have taken A level economics.
10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of classes in the ST.
Students will be expected to complete exercises as required for classes, a mock exam and will write up to three formative essays during the course of the year.
J Le Grand, C Propper & R Robinson, The Economics of Social Problems, Fourth Edition, Palgrave, 2008
R Lipsey and A Crystal, Economics, 13th edition, OUP, 2015 (or earlier edition)
N Barr, Economics of the Welfare State, Fifth Edition, OUP 2012
H Glennerster, Understanding the Cost of Welfare. The Policy Press, 2017
J Hills, Good Times, Bad Times: The Welfare Myth of Them and US, Revised edition, The Policy Press, 2017
A B Atkinson, Inequality: What Can Be Done? Harvard University Press, 2015.
Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Department: Social Policy
Total students 2018/19: Unavailable
Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable
Capped 2018/19: No
Value: One Unit