Seminar: Public Economics (F)

Course content

The seminar invites students to analyze theoretical and empirical issues within public economics.

Possible topics include:

- Labor supply and taxation

- Optimal income taxation

- Universal basic income

- Inequality and the tax system

- Public good provision and marginal cost of public funds

- Optimal commodity taxation

- Individuals’ understanding of and preferences for public interventions.

- Taxation of multinational firms

- Taxation and regulation of the financial sector

- Tax havens

- Tax evasion

- Green taxes

- Taxation of sin goods (tobacco, alcohol etc.)

- Optimal social insurance (unemployment, disability, etc.)

- Retirement and taxes / public transfers

- Tax competition

- Border trading

- Taxation and international migration

- Tagging


Students are encouraged to write papers in pairs. Examples of what papers may do include:

- A thorough review of related articles on a specific topic

- An independent extension of an existing theoretical model

- Simulations of a theoretical model with the aim of, e.g., testing an estimation strategies or policy recommendations.

- A replication and extension of the empirical analysis of a published article using the article’s dataset

- An independent empirical analysis using, e.g., data available through one’s work or publicly available data

- A policy paper on a relevant topic of economic policy


MSc programme in Economics

The course is a part of the financial line, signified by (F)

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics.

Learning outcome

After completing the seminar, the student is expected to be able to fulfil the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and to be able to:


  • Define and discuss the differences between a research question and strategy.
  • Define and discuss the structure of a good (seminar) paper.
  • Identity relevant literature.


  • Use existing knowlegde to analyze new theoretical or empirical problems.
  • Evaluate the feasibilty of a research strategy.
  • Present a research project to peers.


  • Independently plan and execute a research project.

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

The aim of the presentations is, that the student uses the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback. The presentations is not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/ agreement paper.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the full project AFTER the presentation has taken place.

For relevant literature, please refer to the syllabuses of the courses Public Finance and Tax Policy as well as top journals (American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics etc.), top field journals (American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Journal of Public Economics) and the journals Journal of Economic Perspectives and Journal of Economic Literature.

The student will benefit from attending the courses Public Finance and/or Tax Policy before taking the seminar.

BSc in Economics or similar

Schedule Spring 2022:

- Kick-off meeting: Tuesday February 8, 2022, 12:15-13:00

- Extra meetings / introductory teaching / guidance:
Presentation of research ideas Friday March 4, 2022, 10:15.-12:00

- Deadline for submission of commitment paper / project description: Sunday, February 27, 2022, 23:59

- Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in Absalon: Sunday, May 8, 2022, 23:59

- Presentations: In the time period 1 – 23 May.:
Monday May 16, 2022, 10:15-15:00
Tuesday May 17, 2022, 10:15-15:00

- Exam date: 1 June at 10.00 (am) - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Voluntarily: A description in few lines here of the feedback given

The teacher gives the students individual guidance on formulating a feasible research question and oral feedback on a written outline and presentation of the project from peers and teacher. The students get individual guidance during the execution of the project an individually oral feedback on the paper and at the presentation from peers and teacher.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for seminars.

All aids allowed

for the project paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive 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.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206