Chair of Public Economics
Teaching

Teaching

Courses for Bachelor students

We offer Bachelor courses for students of

  • Business Administration and Economics”,
  • “Governance and Public Policy”,
  • “International Cultural and Business Studies”,
  • “Lehramt Gymnasium” and "Bachelor Realschule" as well as
  • "Mathematics":

An overview for Bachelor students

Market Failures and Economic Policy (winter semester)

The module Market Failures and Economic Policy covers the foundations of welfare economics and especially the question of when markets do work in the sense that individually rational decisions result in a collective welfare optimum, and when markets fail. The focus is placed on the analysis of common market failure problems and the justification of government intervention. The topics of public goods (free rider problems in individual decision making and public provision, tragedy of the commons and theory of clubs), external effects (pollution and environmental policy), asymmetric information (moral hazard, adverse selection and the social security system) and natural monopolies (network industries and regulation) are highlighted in particular. Finally, we will deal with the question of how collective decisions can be reached which maximize welfare.

Public Finance (summer Semester, in English)

This module covers the development and structure of public expenditures and public revenues, ideas of distributing the tax burden and social welfare functions, design of taxes, impact of taxes on individual decisions and resulting welfare effects, efficiency costs of taxing labor and savings, tax incidence (who bears the tax burden?), optimal taxation as trade-off between equity and efficiency, income tax and tax evasion, development of public debt against the backdrop of demographic changes, public debt theory (debt and growth), political economy of debt.

Seminar on Economic Policy: Environmental Economics (winter semester)

Negative externalities such as environmental pollution result in suboptimal allocation of ressources in free markets. Specific environmental policies can in principle bring about a Pareto improvement for the society. However, not all well-intentioned policies have positive effects; some might even be counterproductive. This seminar is exclusively offered to undergraduates and delivers a comprehensive introduction to the field of Environmental Economics. Starting from the question why and how we should evaluate the environment, we deal with the monetary and non-monetary costs of climate change, air and water pollution as well as natural disasters. Based on these insights, we evaluate traditional environmental policies such as petroleum taxes, emission trading schemes, the promotion of renewable energies, road pricing, the expansion of public transport but also new measures in the light of behavioral insights. In two introductory sessions, we will present to you the various topics in detail and make you familiar with the basics of academic writing. The seminar is organized as a compact course at the end of the semester. Students have to write a seminar paper of 15–20 pages (accounting for 70% of the seminar grade), give a 30-minute presentation on this paper (20%) and give a 5-minute critique of another student's seminar paper (10%).

Courses for Master students

We offer Master courses for students of

  • “International Economics and Business”,
  • “Business Administration”,
  • “Governance and Public Policy”,
  • “International Cultural and Business Studies”, as well as
  • "Development Studies":

An overview for Master students

Quasi-Experiments and Field Experiments in Economics (winter semester, in English)

This course provides an introduction to applied microeconometric program evaluation and thereby creates a valuable basis for understanding a wide range of empirical work not only in economics but also in management, business administration, sociology, or political science. Therefore, we explicitly recommend this course as a basis for all other courses of the chair. It is in the very heart of economic policy to understand how specific policies affect individual decision making. But also in many other areas of life, people are interested in the question how a specific institution/program/historic event/policy causally affects individuals. Although these questions appear universally, the answers are complicated by the fact that the clean identification of cause and effect goes far beyond the demonstration of naive correlations. This course introduces empirical methods that explicitly aim at distinguishing naive correlation from actual causation. After a theoretical introduction to the respective methods, seminal empirical research papers are discussed in detail. These research papers improve our understanding of how we can apply microeconometric techniques to answer policy relevant questions in a causal way. Moreover, they impressively illustrate the variety of fields in which these methods are used.

Behavioral Public Economics (winter semester, in English)

The model of homo oeconomicus, a rational self-interested individual who maximizes her utility and is not interested in the well-being of her fellow human beings, sometimes fails to provide an adequate picture of individual decision-making processes. In some circumstances, individuals make systematically wrong decisions; moreover, social preferences like altruism, fairness or reciprocity play an important role in individual decisions. This lecture demonstrates which implications can be drawn from behavioral economic insights for economic policy. The fundamental question of how much governmental intervention can be justified to correct the errors of individual decision making is one topic. Moreover, specific policies are considered with respect to insights from behavioral economics. Amongst the topics covered in the lecture are optimal taxation of sin goods such as alcohol and tobacco, effects of social pressure for energy consumption, the role of default options in retirement savings, altruism and social pressure in charitable giving, complexity and salience of taxes, moral aspects and the effects of social pressure for tax fraud, behavioral aspects of minimum wages or the role of labeling of transfer payments.

Economics of Education (summer semester, in English)

Human capital is a key factor for growth and prosperity of nations. Due to the crucial role of education, Germany’s bad performance in PISA 2000 was a major shock which induced heated and mostly ideologically driven debates on problems of the current school system and necessary reforms. The first part of this lecture deals with the role of education for the economic development of countries and the effects of schooling on wages and the risk of getting unemployed. Apart from these labor market related impacts, we also look at the effects of schooling on health, crime, and social engagement. It becomes apparent that education is not only about cognitive but also about non-cognitive skills. The second part of the lecture evolves around the question how school system should be designed in order to provide the best possible results for children and youths. In addition to the role of early childhood education, we focus on the effects of class size, (early) educational tracking, school autonomy, school accountability, central exams, competition between schools, and the impact of teachers. This analysis is based on an in-depth inspection of current empirical research papers.

Population Economics (summer semester, in English)

After World War II many countries experienced a large expansion in education. At the same time, participation of women in the labor market expanded significantly, while fertility decreased considerably. It is against this backdrop that the public debate on the reconciliation of work and family life has formed. The lecture covers central topics of this debate and discusses them from an economic point of view, amongst them the evolution of fertility and mortality from the Middle Ages until today, decisions in families concerning children and the division of labor, the development of labor market participation of women, decisions concerning investments in education, economic effects of the birth control pill, the gender wage gap, the impact of culture and gender-specific behavioral differences on labor market outcomes, discrimination in the labor market, and in particular the role of politics in reconciling work and family life. After the introduction of core theoretical concepts for each topic, the focus is put on applied empirical research papers.

Seminar on Economic Policy (summer Semester, in English)

This seminar covers current topics in the field of Economics of Migration, e.g. selection in migration (who migrates and why?), return migration, effects of migration in the origin and destination country (wages, employment, productivity, voting behavior), culture and assimilation, integration of migrants (and the role of language and social networks), immigrant children and schooling, economic effects of diversity. In two introductory sessions, we will present to you the various topics in detail and make you familiar with the basics of academic writing. The seminar is organized as a compact course at the end of the semester. Students have to write a seminar paper of 15-20 pages (accounting for 70% of the final grade), give a 30-minute presentation on this paper (accounting for 20% of the final grade), and give a 5-minute discussion of another student's paper (accounting for 10% of the final grade).

Courses for doctoral students

We offer courses for doctoral students:

An overview for doctoral students

Quasi-Experiments and Field Experiments in Economics (winter semester, in English)

This course provides an introduction to applied microeconometric program evaluation and thereby creates a valuable basis for understanding a wide range of empirical work not only in economics but also in management, business administration, sociology, or political science. It is in the very heart of economic policy to understand how specific policies affect individual decision making. But also in many other areas of life, people are interested in the question how a specific institution/program/historic event/policy causally affects individuals. Although these questions appear universally, the answers are complicated by the fact that the clean identification of cause and effect goes far beyond the demonstration of naive correlations. This course introduces empirical methods that explicitly aim at distinguishing naive correlation from actual causation. After a theoretical introduction to the respective methods, seminal empirical research papers are discussed in detail. These research papers improve our understanding of how we can apply microeconometric techniques to answer policy relevant questions in a causal way. Moreover, they impressively illustrate the variety of fields in which these methods are used.