The general objective of the course is that of offering to the students the basic theoretical and institutional knowledge and the necessary instruments for the comprehension of:

- the role of government in the economy and the main functions of the public sector in a market economy, with both a positive and a normative approach;

- the composition of public spending;

- the main taxes in Italy;

- the activity of sub-central governments.

The suggested topics investigate the reasons of public intervention in the economy, its shortcomings, the theory of taxation, the main spending programs that compose a welfare state and the main theoretical aspects of fiscal decentralization.

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Public finance studies the public sector of the economy, in particular the tax and spend activities of the state. The course is organized in three parts. The first part is methodological, it provides the tools for analyzing and evaluating state intervention in the economy. The main topics covered are welfare economics, market failures, public goods and externalities; public choice and the positive theory of public intervention. The second part, specifically on public economics, examines the main spending programs of the state: assistance to the poor, income redistribution, health care, education, pensions and the functioning of the welfare state, analyzed above all from an evolutionary perspective of workfare. The third part of the course, relating to public finance, analyzes the main taxes that finance the activities of the state. The main topics are the theory of taxation, efficiency and equity in taxation, the structure of the Italian tax system, the main major taxes - personal income tax, corporation tax, consumption and wealth tax; the introduction to decentralized finance, deficit financing and the constraints to which it is subject.

Core Documentation

H. S. Rosen, T. Gayer (2014), Scienza delle finanze, V ed., Milano, McGraw-Hill.
P. Bosi-M. C. Guerra (2018), I tributi nell'economia italiana, ultima edizione, Bologna, Il Mulino.

Type of evaluation

Students may take the exam of Public finance in two alternative ways: 1) During the course two written exams will be held, in dates reported in the syllabus. The student who will take both exams may have the weighted average of the two grades (40% exam 1; 60% exam 2) as the final grade of Public Finance, provided that in exam 2 he/she will have received a passing grade (not less than 18/30). If so, the student may accept such a grade and have it registered without further ado in any appeal of the first exam session (summer session). 2) Students who will not have taken either or both written exams, or who will not have a sufficient grade from the weighted average of the grades, or who nevertheless aspire to attain a higher grade, can take the oral exam on the entire program of the course in any appeal they register to.