ECON 32200: Public Finance

ECON 32200 (CRN# 33227 SECTION: 01): PUBLIC FINANCE SPRING 2018

Instructor: Dr. Amlan Mitra
Online Meeting: Blackboard (January 9 – May 6, 2017)
Office: Classroom Office Building, CLO 248
Office Hours: Mon/Wed: 2:00 – 3:00 P.M.; and by appointment
Telephone: (219)989-2313
E-mail:mitraa@pnw.edu
Homepage: https://www.pnw.edu/faculty/amlan-mitra/

UNIVERSITY CATALOG DESCRIPTION

This course examines and analyzes public finance practices and problems in a federal fiscal system.  Various government activities with respect to government spending and taxation are analyzed by applying basic principles of economics.   Topics include public education, social security, healthcare, environment, income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc.  State and local government issues are also addressed.

Pre-Requisite: ECON 210 or ECON 251.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

All of us have some familiarity with public finance, which focuses on government expenditures, and financing of various government activities.  We attend public schools; travel on streets, highways, and buses; receive clean water and dispose dirty water; have our trash collected; enjoy the security of police and fire protection; use public hospitals; vacation at parks and beaches; support the less fortunate with services and income maintenance; receive government funds; etc.   We pay income, property, and sales taxes; excise taxes on a variety of commodities such as alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline; a number of different user fees; and we buy lottery tickets.  All of these encompass public finance.  This course will focus on these government activities.  Using economic theories and concepts, we will study the role government plays in allocating resources and how we influence what governments do.

COURSE GOAL

The overall goal of this course is to help you acquire the tools necessary to evaluate (critically) the government policies that political leaders will offer to you during the course of your life.  I hope that you will be a more effective citizen as a result of taking this course.

REQUIRED TEXT

Public Finance (with CONNECT Access Card), 10th edition, McGraw-Hill Publishers

Author:  Harvey Rosen; ISBN: 9781259306730

CONNECT AND LEARNSMART

LearnSmart (SmartBook w/ Learning Resources: Mobile access to study tools like key terms, math review, self quizzes, and chapter summaries. Mobile access to chapter resources such as web buttons, student PowerPoint slides, and worked problems).

OTHER RECOMMENDED MATERIALS

Wall Street Journal: It is very important for you to try to use the materials from lectures in understanding real world phenomena.  Where do you find intelligent and very current discussions of economic issues?  An excellent source is the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Economics Resources Websites:  Please visit “Economic Resources” tab on my homepage here.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Explain how the provision of government goods and services through political institutions differs from market provision of goods and services.
  • Examine and analyze taxes and subsidies with and without market failure.
  • Examine and analyze various types of government expenditures on public education, health care, social security, income assistance, unemployment compensation, etc.
  • Explain how cost-benefit analysis can be used to help government choose among alternative investment projects.
  • Examine and analyze the impact of various types of taxes on the economy

ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Completing assigned readings, homework assignments, quizzes, and term paper are the basic requirements to meet the five learning objectives.   Each of these five learning objectives will be assessed in the following way:

Learning Objective Assessment Tools
1 Mean Grade of Quizzes 1 – 3
2 Mean Grade of Quizzes 4 – 5
3 Mean grade of Quizzes 6, 8 – 12
4 Quiz 7
5 Mean grade of Quizzes 13, 14

STUDENT EVALUATION POLICIES

GRADING POLICY:  Regular participation, completing assigned readings, homework assignments, quizzes, comprehensive final exam, and term paper on Blackboard and CONNECT are the basic requirements to meet learning objectives.   The student’s overall percentage score is based upon the following weights:

Homework Assignments (Top 10) 200 points
Quizzes (Top 10) 200 points
Term Paper 100 points

Grading Criteria: Plus minus grading system will be used for the course based on your overall points and any adjustment for perfect attendance or excess absences:

A+: 485 – 500;
B+: 435 – 449; B-: 400 – 414
C+: 385 – 399; C-: 350 – 364
D+: 335 – 349; D-: 300 – 314
F: Below 300

An extra credit adjustment up to 5% is possible only if a student has completed all reading assignments from LearnSmart including the practice questions and all “S” (i.e., satisfactory) grades in the discussion topics.  For example, if your total points in this course is 385 so you have a C+ as per grading criteria above, you grade will move up by two grades to a B.

You are NOT ELIGIBLE for this EXTRA CREDIT if you fail to submit even a single reading assignment.

LEARNSMART READING ASSIGNMENTS

LearnSmart Reading Assignments (including practice questions) will be posted in CONNECT a week in advance from the due dates.  Please review the “Course Schedule” section of this syllabus for chapter assignment.  It is your responsibility to check the due dates in CONNECT.  Please DO NOT wait till the last moment to submit these assignments.  These assignments are due by Sunday midnight.  You are strongly encouraged to submit all reading assignments for extra credit.  You will not receive any extra credit if you miss a single reading assignment.  All late submissions will have 50% penalty.  The purpose of these assignments is to help and solidify your understanding of the lecture materials and prepare you for the homework assignments, quizzes and exam.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS

There will be homework assignments posted in CONNECT a week in advance from the due dates.  Please review the “Course Schedule” section of this syllabus for chapter assignment.  It is your responsibility to check the due dates in CONNECT.  Please DO NOT wait till the last moment to submit these assignments.  HW assignments are due by Sunday midnight before the new chapters are assigned on the following week.  Only your top 10 assignments will be included in your final grade. Therefore, no late submissions and makeups will be allowed.  These will have conceptual and essay questions.  The purpose of these assignments is to help and solidify your understanding of the lecture materials and prepare you for the quizzes and exam.

QUIZZES

There will be quizzes posted in CONNECT a week in advance from the due dates.  Please review the “Course Schedule” section of this syllabus for chapter assignment.  It is your responsibility to check the due dates.  Please DO NOT CLICK on any quiz unless you are ready to take it.  If you click “BEGIN” you MUST take it.  You will not get a second attempt.  No excuses! Also, please DO NOT wait till the last moment to submit the quizzes.  Quizzes are due by Sunday midnight before the new chapters are assigned on the following week.  Only your top 10 quizzes will be included in your final grade. Therefore, no late submissions and makeups will be allowed.  The quizzes will be timed and consist of 20 – 30 true/false and multiple choice questions.  The purpose of these quizzes is to help and solidify your understanding of the lecture materials and prepare you for the exams.

DISCUSSION BOARD

There will be THREE discussion topics posted on the DISCUSSION BOARD in BLACKBOARD.  You must

have an “S” (satisfactory) grade in all three topics to earn extra credit.  To earn an “S” grade, please participate in a substantive manner following the instructions:

  • Your first post MUST be a detailed response to the questions on the topic satisfying the five criteria stated below:
    1. Knowledge and understanding of the discussion topic;
    2. Logical and focused economic arguments/analysis through cited text book and Internet research;
    3. Asking thought provoking questions to other students;
  • Your subsequent posts (at least two posts) will be asking questions and responding to other posts as
    1. Logical and focused responses to questions posed by others;
    2. Engaging communication through multiple postings.

TERM PAPER

The guidelines for the term paper will be posted on Blackboard.  Please submit your term paper topic/outline, the two progress reports, and the final paper by the due dates.  Use the “DROP BOX” in Blackboard to submit these documents.  No other forms of submission will be accepted.  Any late submissions will have 50% penalty.

DUE DATES & COURSE POLICIES

It is your responsibility to check regularly your Purdue emails, Blackboard and CONNECT for all announcements, including the due dates for all assignments on Blackboard and CONNECT.  Assignments will be posted at least a week in advance of the due dates.  You are strongly encouraged to submit the assignments before the due dates.  Please DO NOT CLICK on any assignments unless you are ready to take it.  If you click it, you MUST take it.  You will not get a second attempt.  No excuses! Also, please DO NOT wait till the last moment to submit these assignments.  This way, you will have a chance to submit at a later time but before the due date and time if there are any online connection problems.

You are strongly encouraged to submit all reading assignments and your satisfactory postings on the three discussion topics for 5% EXTRA CREDIT.

MAKE-UP POLICY:  NO MAKEUPS ARE ALLOWED.

All assignments are posted a week in advance.  In addition, only the top 10 HW and Quizzes will count towards your grade.  Finally, you have a 5% extra credit opportunity.  Therefore, no makeups will be allowed under any circumstances EXCEPT if there is an emergency breakdown or failure of Purdue University Blackboard System.  No makeups are allowed due to your PC-related problems, Internet browser and connection failures.  If

Blackboard is not available due to pre-announced regular maintenance, you are still responsible and no makeups will be allowed.  This is also indicated in your course contract and you must agree to continue in this course.

A FINAL NOTE:  It is not difficult to do well in this course.  If you are to do well in this class, you must read the assigned chapters thoroughly, read carefully the instructions/questions of all assignments and follow them to timely submit all your assignments.  Please do not be deceived.  If you think that you will not be able to spend adequate time for this class, you are better off taking it later.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all qualified students enrolled in this course are entitled to reasonable accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor of any special needs before the end of the second week of classes.

A NOTE ON ACADEMIC HONESTY

Honesty and integrity in academic and personal pursuits are hallmarks of higher education. By acting honestly and with integrity, students maintain and uphold their own reputations, and the reputation of both the School of Management and the University. The Students Handbook states that “the commitment of the acts of cheating, lying, stealing and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of ghost-written papers, use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during exams) is dishonest.” Also, aiding and abetting in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest. The penalty for any student(s) involved in any of such acts will range from an outright zero in the specific assignment the act was committed to a grade of “F” in the course.

HONOR CODE: I understand that academic dishonesty will not be tolerated at Purdue University Calumet. I am here to learn. Through learning, I will strive to become a better person and a more valuable contributor to society. I understand that dishonesty in the classroom, through cheating, plagiarism or other dishonest acts, defeats this purpose and disgraces the mission and quality of a Purdue University Calumet education. Therefore, I make the following pledge: in accordance with the Honor Code, I will not engage in dishonesty in my academic activities, and I will not tolerate such dishonesty by other students.

CLASSROOM CIVILITY: Purdue University Calumet supports the principles of freedom of expression for both faculty and students. The University respects the rights of faculty to teach and students to learn. Maintenance of these rights requires classroom conditions that do not impede the learning process. Disruptive classroom behavior will not be tolerated. An individual engaging in such behavior may be subject to disciplinary action.  Definition of Civility:  Purdue University Calumet places a priority on student learning. We value the inherent worth and dignity of every person, thereby fostering a community of mutual respect. We believe that in order to achieve these ideals, all Purdue University Calumet students are expected, while in the role as student or representative of the university, to exhibit and practice civil behaviors, defined as behaviors that:

  1. Respect faculty, staff, fellow students, guests, and all university property, policies, rules and regulations.
  2. Take responsibility for one’s choices and actions.
  3. Accept consequences of one’s inappropriate choices and actions.
  4. Communicate in a professional and courteous manner.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS:  Please read the emergency procedure guide.

TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

WeekDateTopicChapter Reading
11/9 – 1/15Introduction to Public Finance1
21/16 – 1/22Review of MicroeconomicsLecture Notes
31/23 – 1/29Tools of Positive Analysis2
41/30 – 2/5Tools of Normative Analysis3
52/6 – 2/12Public Goods 4
62/13 – 2/19Externalities5
72/20 – 2/26Education7
82/27 – 3/5Cost-Benefit Analysis8
93/6 – 3/12The Health Care Market9
103/13 – 3/19SPRING RECESS
113/20 – 3/26The Government and the Market for Health Care10
123/27 – 4/2
4/2
Social Security
Term Paper Outline Due by Sunday midnight
11
134/3 – 4/9
4/7
Income Redistribution
Last day to drop classes
12
144/10 – 4/16
4/16
Expenditure Programs for the Poor
Term Paper Progress Report 1 Due by Sunday midnight
13
154/17 – 4/23
4/23
Personal Income Tax
Term Paper Progress Report 2 Due Sunday midnight
17
164/24 – 4/30The Corporation Tax 19
175/1 Term Paper Due by Monday midnight