Economic Policy and the Welfare State

Course content

In this course, students learn about and work with different areas of economic policy related to some of the major economic challenges of today. 


The course focuses on economic policy and the welfare state in Denmark, but in an international comparison and with examples from other developed countries. The course has an emphasis on recent empirical research on policy issues, and a focus on how to take theory to the data, critically evaluate the validity of empirical designs, and account for policy implications of research results. For each topic, we will look at economic facts and status quo policies in Denmark and elsewhere, work with the theoretical framework and economic reasoning behind, discuss empirical evidence and evaluations of “what works” in terms of policy in that area, and cover views from the public debate. 


The course material is a mix of academic articles, handbook chapters, and policy reports from government and other institutions. The aim is for students to get an academic foundation for thinking about different policy questions, but also an understanding of policy in an applied context and as part of the political system and the public debate. By the end of the semester, students should have a good understanding of contemporary economic issues in Denmark and other developed countries, be able to think as an economist about these issues, and be able to account for potential challenges, trade-offs, and solutions in an academic way.


Topics covered in the course include:

  • Retirement and pensions
  • Inequality in health and longevity
  • Demographic change and future of the welfare state
  • Transfer programs
  • Inequality from technological change and globalization
  • Spatial inequality and place-based policies
  • Housing markets and housing policies
  • Climate change and green growth policies
  • Migration and the welfare state in a globalized world
  • Politics and policy: political economy perspectives on economic policy

MSc programme in Economics – elective course

Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – valgfag på 3. år

The Danish BSc programme in Economics - elective at the 3rd year

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Define the key economic challenges covered in the course and status quo policies related to these challenges in Denmark and other developed countries covered.
  • Account for the economic theoretical background/framework for understanding these challenges.
  • Account for policy solutions related to the economic challenges covered, both the theoretical reasoning and empirics of policies.



  • Evaluate and discuss contemporary economic challenges facing developed societies
  • Analyze potential policy solutions and public debate perspectives on these solutions.
  • Discuss policy implications of academic findings.



  • Independently initiate and engage in discussions about economic policy at an academic level.
  • Write a master’s thesis or similar report on an economic policy topic of one’s own choice doing independent, novel work.

Lectures with exercies and activities in class.

Restrictions due to Coronavirus:
The teaching in this course may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online due to COVID-19. For further information, please see the course room on Absalon (for enrolled students).

The syllabus consists of academic articles, handbook chapters, and policy reports specified in a course reading list (all available online with access through the university).

Knowledge about basic economic principles, microeconomics, and empirical methods (econometrics) from similar courses as "Principle of Economics A", "Principle of Economics B", "Microeconomics I", "Microeconomics II" and "Econometrics I" in the Bachelor of Economics, University of Copenhagen.

2 hour lectures 1 to 2 times a week from week 36 to 50 (except week 42).

The overall schema can be seen at KUnet:
MSc in Economics => "courses and teaching" => "Planning and overview" => "Your timetable"
KA i Økonomi => "Kurser og undervisning" => "Planlægning og overblik" => "Dit skema"

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures please press the link under "Timetable"/​"Se skema" at the right side of this page (E means Spring).

You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-E21; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn”
Press: “ View Timetable”

Please be aware:
- It is the students´s own responsibility to continuously update themselves about their studies, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programmes, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course descriptions, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.



The students receive oral collective feedback during the lectures.

Each student receives individual written feedback on the mandatory assignment.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 12 hours
individual take-home exam. It is not allowed to collaborate on the assignment with anyone.

The exam assignment is in English and must be answered in English.

All aids allowed at the written exams.


For further information about allowed aids for the re-examination, please go to the section "Re-exam".


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
for the written exam.

An oral re-examination may be with external assessment.
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


In order to obtain the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


In order to obtain the grade “02”, the student must in a satisfactory way be able to demonstrate a minimal acceptable level of  the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 152
  • Exam
  • 12
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Go to 'Signup' for
information about registration and enrollment

Information about admission and tuition fee: Master and Exchange Programme, credit students and guest students (Open University)

and venue for teaching:
Go to 'Remarks'.

For exam and re-sits: Go to 'Exam'.
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Amalie Sofie Jensen   (3-697b72486d6b777636737d366c73)

See "Course Coordinators"

Saved on the 02-07-2021

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students