Advanced Public Economics (tidl. Tax Policy)

Course content

The course gives an overview of selected models, methods, and results within Public Economics with the aim of studying the positive and normative aspects of the design of tax- and transfer policies, such as (optimal) income taxation, firm taxation (including internation aspects) and social insurance. The course puts emphasis on linking formal analysis to modern empirical analysis and to discuss implications of theoretical and empirical findings for real world public policies.


MSc programme in Economics – elective course


The PhD Programme in Economics at the Department of Economics:

  • The course is an elective course with research module. In order to register for the research module and to be able to write the research assignment, the PhD students must contact the study administration AND the lecturer.


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students


This course was named Tax Policy the earlier years.

Learning outcome

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



  • Know key institutional facts about the major tax and transfer schemes (e.g., income, commodity, firm taxation) in the real world.
  • Know key empirical methods used to study behavioral responses to of tax and transfer systems.
  • Understand the concept of incidence and economic efficiency in relationship to reforms of tax and transfer systems.
  • Understand the economic intuition behind key theories of optimal public policy as well as their implications for practical policy making.
  • Account for theories of tax evasion and international tax competition and important empirical findings.
  • Account for key concepts within behavioral public economics (e.g., tax salience and limited self-control) as well as its implications for the effectiveness and design of public policy.



  • Derive theoretical predictions about the effect of changes in tax and transfer systems (positive analyses).
  • Derive formulas for the optimal design of tax and transfer systems (normative analyses).
  • Define key parameters (“sufficient statistics”) for the design of optimal public policy.
  • Formulate empirical strategies that can estimate the key parameters for optimal policy.
  • Interpret key results in a straightforward language.




  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of theoretical models of public economics.
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of empirical strategies employed to measure key behavioral parameters in public economics.
  • Discuss concrete policy issues using terms and concepts from the public economics in a straightforward language.

The book “B. Salanié, The Economics of Taxation, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003” serves as the main reference for most parts of the course. Research papers as well as lecture notes will complement the book.

The course draws upon many of the core skills and competencies acquired at the bachelor program in economics at University at Copenhagen. In particular, it is recommended that students have followed Microeconomics II & III and Econometrics I from the Study of Economics, Copenhagen University (or equivalent) prior to taking the course.

In addition, the students will strong benefit from having followed Public Economics and Applied Econometric Policy Evaluation prior to taking the course.

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

The overall schema for the Master can be seen at KUnet:
MSc in Economics => "Courses and teaching" => "Planning and overview" => "Your timetable"

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 Autumn.

You can find the similar information partly in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-E24; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn”
Press: “ View Timetable

Please be aware:
- The schedule of the lectures and the exercise classes can change without the participants´ acceptance. If this occur, 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 at 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.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 3 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
ITX-exam in the exam venues of the university.
The exam assignment is in English and must be answered in English.
Exam registration requirements

There are no requirements during the course that the student has to fulfill to be able to sit the exam.


No aids allowed at the written ITX-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
at the written exams. The written ITX-exam may be chosen for external assessment by random sample.
An oral re-examination may be with external assessment.
Exam period


Exam information:

Examination Dates can be found here

The exact time and place will be available in Digital Exam from the middle of the semester. 

More information about examination, rules, aids etc. at Master (UK) and Master (DK).



The reexam is a 20 min. oral exam without preparation time.

No aids allowed during the examination.

Extern censur. 


Reexam info:

More information in Digital Exam in February. 

More information at  Master (UK) and  Master (DK).  

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 passing 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
  • 161
  • Exam
  • 3
  • 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
  • Jakob Egholt Søgaard   (3-6f6a78456a68747333707a336970)

See 'Course Coordinators'

Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching.

Saved on the 21-05-2024

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