Economic Policy and the Welfare State
In this course, students learn about and work with different areas of economic policy related to some of the major challenges facing governments 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. It covers classic welfare state topics as well as more recent themes and challenges to modern welfare states, focusing especially on the expenditure side of government. 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 related to the welfare state and public sector 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 pension policies
- Design of transfer programs
- International migration and the welfare state
- Social insurance and protection in the labor market
- Provision of public goods
- Spatial inequality and place-based policies
- Housing policies
- Political economy perspectives on economic policy and the welfare state
MSc programme in Economics – elective course
Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – valgfag på 3. år
The Danish BSc programme in Economics - elective at the 3rd year
From autumn 2022 the course is also offered to students at the
- Master Programmes in Political Science
- Master Programme in Social Data Science
Enrolled students register the course through the Selfservice. Please contact the study administration at each programme for questions regarding registration.
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 the empirical evidence.
- 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 engage in discussions about economic policy and challenges to the welfare state at an academic level.
Lectures with exercies and activities in class.
Changes to teaching methods due to a pandemic crisis:
The teaching in this course might be changed to either fully or partly online due to a pandemic crisis. If changes are implemented please read the study messages at KUnet or the announcements in the virtual 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-E22; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn”
Press: “ View Timetable”
Please be aware:
- The schedule of the lectures can change without the participants´ acceptance. If this occures, you can see the new schedule in your personal timetable at KUnet, in the app myUCPH and through the links in the right side of this course description and the link above.
- It is the students´s own responsibility continuously throughout the study to stay informed about their study, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programme, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.
The students receive oral collective feedback during the lectures, and give each other peer feedback on assignments.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Written assignment, 6 hours
- Type of assessment details
- Individual take-home exam. The students are not allowed to
communicate about the given problem-set or collaborate on the
assignment with anyone. If done so, it will be regarded as
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 “12”, 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)
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
- 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)
- For teaching: Go to 'Remarks'.
- For exam and re-sits: Go to 'Exam'.
- Department of Economics, Study Council
- Department of Economics
- Department of Political Science
- Social Data Science
- Faculty of Social Sciences
- Amalie Sofie Jensen (3-65776e4469677372326f7932686f)
See "Course Coordinators"
Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching.
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Courseinformation of students