PP404      Half Unit
Economics for Public Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ethan Ilzetzki


This course is compulsory on the Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This is graduate level course for mid-career policy-makers to develop their knowledge and understanding of key principles of economics as applicable to policy-making. The emphasis is on developing an understanding of analytical frameworks and models that can be applied to a wide variety of contexts. Both micro- and macro-economics will be covered, including price theory, understanding markets, externalities, public goods, principal-agent problems, economic growth, inflation business cycles, unemployment, and fiscal and monetary policies.


This course is delivered through a combination of a minimum of 13.5 hours of classes, 20 hours of lectures and 10 help sessions across the Lent Term, plus 1.5 hours of classes in the ST. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 10 problem sets in the LT.

There will be weekly formative course work to give students the opportunity to develop fluency with the tools covered in the course.

Indicative reading

Mankiw, N. Gregory and Mark Taylor (2017) Economics, 4th Edition, Cengage Learning EMEA.

Moss, David A. A Concise Guide to Macroeconomics.

Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets - McMillan, John 2002

Intermediate microeconomics: a modern approach - Hal R. Varian 2014

Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis - Thomas R. Palfrey, Howard Rosenthal 1984-7

The undercover economist strikes back: how to run or ruin an economy - Tim Harford 2013

The given texts are preparatory reading only. A full reading list will be provided at the start of the course.


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Coursework (30%) in the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2019/20: 32

Average class size 2019/20: 11

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills