BSc Global Development with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Public Economics for the Global South

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI20242
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit introduces students to basic concepts in focuses on economic policy and the role of government in the economy. The course would discuss the theoretical underpinnings surrounding the arguments for and against the public policies on the economy. Further, it would explore the effects of government taxation on the economy. In addition, the course would provide insights from behavioural economics that assume importance in the design and analysis of the policies. The course unit assumes that students are familiar with basic GCSE maths. The course will be delivered to a mixed-ability class: some students will have studied maths and/or statistics beyond the level of GCSE.


This unit aims to:

  1. Introduce students to key concepts in basic public economics and taxation
  2. Equip students to apply the concepts while analysing policies pertaining to the global south
  3. Develop students’ ability to think critically on government interventions


Indicative weekly lecture and class schedule

  1. Introduction to public economics (Week 1)
  2. Taxation - Commodity, Income and Corporate (Week 2, 3)
  3. Public goods (Week 4, 5)
  4. Externality (Week 6)
  5. Tax evasion (Week 7)
  6. Public policy and social protection programmes (Week 8, 9)
  7. Revision and general discussion on evidence across the world (Week 10)

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning will be based on ten lectures (one lecture per week for two hours) and five tutorials (Bi-weekly one tutorial, 2 hours). Lectures will combine presentation of the learning material with some interactive discussion and group activities. Reading lists, lecture slides and tutorial questions/ materials will be posted on Blackboard. Tutorials will provide ample opportunities for students to engage critically with the theoretical and empirical aspects and develop their writing and understanding of the topics discussed.

It will also discuss analytical writing skills and students would be asked to prepare short essays, based on which formative feedback would also be given. Specific support in terms of organisations/structure for academic writing will be given through instructions and advice on how to prepare for each tutorial will be posted on Blackboard. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Explain specific concepts and theories in public economics
  • Explain the consequences of specific government interventions
  • Describe how behavioural insights can play a key role in design and analysis of public policies

Intellectual skills

  • Gain solid understanding on taxation / public goods / externality
  • Evaluate critically the government intervention in the context of the Global South.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and engagement with various strands of literature through classroom discussion and tutorials

Practical skills

  • Evaluate government interventions on taxation and welfare

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop a critical arguments, making use of appropriate theory and evidence
  • Making coherent arguments and develop writing and analytical skills 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 60%
Written exam 40%
  • Project 1 (1,000 words) (30%)
  • Project 2 (1,000 words) (30%)

Feedback methods

Feedback on the assessments via Blackboard within SEED’s guidelines.

Recommended reading

This course unit is majorly based on a single textbook:

Hindriks, J., & Myles, G. D. (2013). Intermediate public economics. MIT press.

Some lectures will also be based on:

Bellinger, W. K. (2015). The economic analysis of public policy. Routledge

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Upasak Das Unit coordinator
Vidhya Unnikrishnan Unit coordinator

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