Seminar: Economics of the welfare state (F)

Course content

The seminar gives students the opportunity to work with various aspects of economics of the welfare state, including policy design and evaluation within major welfare state areas, perspectives on fiscal planning, sustainability, and intergenerational fairness in a welfare state, and comparative/cross-country perspectives as well as political economy perspectives on the welfare state and public spending.


Themes might include (but are not limited to):


  • Pension systems and policies: e.g. fiscal sustainability and inter- and intragenerational redistribution, retirement and labor supply incentives in the pension system, health and retirement, measures of healthy aging and healthy life expectancy under increasing longevity, design of early retirement schemes, “free-rider” concerns and saving incentives in public pension systems.


  • Welfare transfers, e.g. design of welfare transfers, including intensive and extensive margin responses, tagging and screening in transfer design, in-kind transfers.


  • Social insurance, e.g. design and effects of disability insurance, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, health care, long-term care, welfare state crowd-out effects on informal insurance, e.g. family support.


  • Welfare state labor markets, e.g. effects of active labor market policies, approaches to new types of work arrangements (e.g. platform work), measuring the (dis)value of work attributes (e.g. work environment, sexual harassment, work flexibility), the role of unions, e.g. effects on inequality, policies to promote female labor supply, understanding drivers of gender gaps in labor supply, occupational choice, wages, etc., integration of immigrants into the labor market.


  • Measuring the costs and benefits of public spending, e.g. schooling, childcare, healthcare, methods for measuring the willingness to pay for non-traded goods.


  • Challenges to the welfare state from globalization, e.g. migration responses to taxes and transfers, design of migration policies, insurance/training policies to deal with adjustment/displacement effects of globalization.


  • Political economy perspectives on the welfare state, e.g. what determines the size of the welfare state across countries, understanding voters’ perceptions of and attitudes towards public spending and taxes, corruption in welfare state countries, social trust in welfare states, trust in politicians and public institutions, political effects of economic policy.

MSc programme in Economics

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 fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and to be able to:


  • Account for key theories and methods that are relevant for the chosen topic
  • Account for the main findings and gaps in the literature related to the chosen topic/research question
  • Provide a few real-world examples which motivate the chosen topic



  • Formulate a research question and motivate it in relation to existing literature and real-world policy
  • Critically evaluate and discuss own theory, methods, and findings
  • Present a research paper to peers
  • Give constructive feedback to peers



  • Independently plan and carry out a research project


Supplemented by an overall intended learning outcome outlined in the programme-specific curriculum

Students must search for literature that is relevant for their chosen topic.


References for basic background knowledge include

Public economics textbooks:
Atkinson and Stiglitz, Lectures on Public Economics, 2015, Princeton University Press

Hindriks and Myles, Intermediate Public Economics, 2013, MIT Press
Salanié, The Economics of Taxation, 2011, MIT Press
Jonathan Gruber, Public Finance and Public Policy, 2022, Worth Publishers

Angrist and Pischke, Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion, 2009, Princeton University Press

BSc in Economics or similar

• Kick-off meeting: 4 February 2025, 10:15am-12pm.
• Deadline for submission of commitment paper/project description: No later than 1 March at 10:00am.
• Individual meetings with feedback on project description: March 14, 8:00am-4:00pm.
• Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in Absalon: No later than one week before the presentations.
• Presentations: In the time period 1 – 23 May 2024. We will agree on the exact dates at the kickoff meeting.
• Exam date: 3 June 2025 at 10:00am, i.e., deadline for uploading the seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum and at KUNet for seminars.

Brug af AI-værktøjer er tilladt. Du skal forklare, hvordan du har brugt værktøjerne. Når tekst udelukkende eller primært er genereret af et AI værktøj, skal værktøjet citeres som en kilde.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Deadline for submitting the final seminar paper: June 3, 2025 before 10 AM

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam portal. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.

For enrolled students more information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at the intranet for  Master (UK) and  Master (DK).

Examination Dates can be found  here (latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.)


The reexam form in seminars is a seminar paper with a synopsis

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


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Amalie Sofie Jensen   (3-65776e4469677372326f7932686f)
Saved on the 13-05-2024

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Courseinformation of students