ECC5810 - Public economics - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Business and Economics

Organisational Unit

Department of Economics

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Vai-Lam Mui


Associate Professor Vai-Lam Mui

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Students must be enrolled in course 3194.




This unit examines how collective decisions affect the welfare of a society. It will first discuss how free-riding and coordination problems in collective decision making by the citizens, and incentive and credibility problems in the public sector, determine economic policies. It then applies this incentive approach to study how various kinds of interactions between citizens and their government determine social welfare, paying special attention to the importance of voting; political competition; distributional conflicts and institutions in determining collective decision making.


The learning goals associated with this unit are to:

  1. analyse important issues pertinent to collective decision making by the citizens and the functioning of the public sector
  2. understand how to investigate the role of voting, interest groups, political competition, and distributional conflicts in affecting public policies
  3. develop a deeper understanding of the role of the state in affecting economic performance and social welfare, with an emphasis on the role of the institutional environment and strategic interactions between citizens and politicians in shaping government behaviour.


Within semester assessment: 40% + Examination: 60%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information