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Public Finance

Rutgers the State University of New Jersey
Camden Campus
Department of Economics
Public Finance, (50:220:442, 3 credits)

Syllabus and Class Schedule


Instructor:  Madan Mittal
Email:  You may contact me directly through the Sakai website. You can also contact me at my personal e-mail madanlmittal@gmail.com.
Office Hours: I will be available on Tuesdays from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM and by appointment in Room 332 Armitage Hall.

Course Objective
This course will analyze the spending patterns and sources of revenue of different levels of the public economy. We will study intergovernmental relations with emphasis on fiscal policy including debt management. We will examine the public sector decision-making process to understand how resources are allocated within political institutions. We will discuss incidence and effect of taxes. For example, the tax system is examined not only in terms of traditional equity and efficiency criteria but also as a product of a democratic decision- making process.

Learning Objectives 
 After completing this course, the student will be able to

  1. Understand the process by which democratic decision making has created the existing public sector institutions.
  2. Understand that unlike the invisible hand of the market that is the result of human action but not of human design, the public sector of the economy is the result of conscious human design,
  3. Understand that better the process is understood by citizens and by public sector decision makers, the more likely we are to design public sector institutions that behave as we intended.

Textbook and Other Required Materials
The text for this course is Public Sector Economics, The Role of Government in the American Economy, by Randall G. Holcombe, Pearson, Prentice Hall. The ISBN 10 # is 0– 13– 145042– 5.

Course Requirements and Grade Evaluation
Grades will be based on your participation in class discussions and your performance in Homework, Quizzes, and Final Exam. 

    Evaluation Tool                                         Weight
    Class Presentations and Discussions              50%
    Homework (2 Assignments, 6% Each)           12%
    Mid Term Exam                                             13%
    Final Exam                                                    25%


Letter Grades
A      85.0-100.0             B+   78.0-84.9          B     71.0-77.9
C+   64.0-70.9               C      57.0-63.9          D     50.0-56.9
F      Below 50.0

Homework Assignments, Class Preparation & Participation
Students are responsible for reading the assigned chapters and preparing for class discussion before each class. Do homework assignments early to avoid any emergencies preventing your completion by the due date. If a Homework assignment is submitted to me by the end of the class on the day it is due, you will get 100% credit for what you score.  There will be no credit for assignments submitted later than that.

Please access the Sakai site regularly for any updates or notices.

Mid Term Exam
If I am notified in advance that you cannot take a the exam when it is scheduled, I will arrange a make-up date.  If you take the exam on the make-up date, you will get 100% credit for what you score.  If you fail to take the exam on the make-up date, 50% of the weight for the Mid Term Exam will go to the Final Exam. 

Exam Policy
Questions are based on assigned textbook readings, homework problems, class lectures and discussions. You are responsible for concepts that are assigned in the readings even if they are not explicitly covered in class.

Final Exam
Grades of incomplete will not be given to students who do not take the final exam unless I am contacted prior to submitting my grades with written documentation of hospitalization, etc. Students who do not take the final exam and do not present credible written documentation will receive a zero on the final.

Academic Integrity
Cheating or the appearance of cheating will result in an automatic F for the course. I encourage working together on homework; however, hand in individual assignments.

Attendance/Class Participation and Rules
Regular attendance in class is expected.  Active participation in class discussions is important for the success of our class and your success in the course. Please turn off speaker/sound on all cell phones, headphones, personal computer and electronic devices before class begins.

Statement on Academic Freedom
Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. I ask that you respect each other’s opinions, especially when they differ from your own.

Students with Disabilities
I ask any student with a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability to inform me as soon as possible. The Office of Disability Services (856-225-6442) is part of the Rutgers-Camden Learning Center located in Armitage Hall, EOF Office Suite, Rooms 358-368. Tim Pure, is the Disability Services Coordinator. He can be reached by contacting the Rutgers-Camden Learning Center at (856) 225-6442 or at tpure@camden.rutgers.edu. Also, visit the Office of Disability Services website http://learn.camden.rutgers.edu/disability/disabilities.html

Together, we will coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Reading Assignments Subject to Change
A list of reading Assignments for part of the semester is shown below.  Additions and changes will be communicated to you during the class.

Week              Reading Assignment
1                     Chapter 1 including Appendix
2                     Chapter 2
3                     Chapter 3
4                     Chapters 4 & 5
5                     Chapters 6 & 10
6                     HW1 is due, Chapters 11 & 12
7                     Chapter 13 & 14
8                     Mid Term Exam
9                     Spring Break
10                   Chapters 15 & 16
11                   Chapters 17 & 18
12                   Chapters 19 & 20      
13                   Chapters 21 & 22
14                   Chapters 23 & 24
15                   TBA