2023-2024 / ECON2307-1

Introduction to Public finance


24h Th, 12h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in law (120 ECTS) (Even years, not organized in 2023-2024) 5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS) (Even years, not organized in 2023-2024) 5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (60 ECTS) (Even years, not organized in 2023-2024) 5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology) (Even years, not organized in 2023-2024) 5 crédits 


Alain Jousten

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course studies public sector activities from the perspective of the functions of resource allocation and redistribution.

It discusses the role of the public sector in the economy, the difference between private and public goods, the question of social choice as well as externalities. Examples from the field of health, retirement and/or education are analyzed.

The main principles of tax policy (taxes, duties and levies) are exposed: equity (progressivity, capacity to pay, etc.) and efficiency. Key results from the theory of optimal taxation (direct and indirect) will be discussed. Various corollaries will also be analyzed, such as the results of equivalence between tax instruments and the concept of tax expenditure.

Finally, the main categories of taxes (PIT, CIT, VAT, excise duties) and contributions will be analyzed in light of these economic concepts.


Even years only (not organized in 2023-2024)

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Use the tools of economic analysis to understand the role and functioning of the public sector.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Introductory microeconomics

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures and student assignments.
Practical details of student assignments will be communicated in due course through the website of the course. Participation in these group exercises and presence for the related presentations is compulsory. For absences of 50 percent or more, such absences will not be excused even if justified.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Blended learning

Additional information:

Lectures in presence/distance-learning.

Exercise sessions and student presentation in presence learning. 

Recommended or required readings

Course slides and shorter texts will be provided through the ecampus website of the course.

The main course manual is:

Gruber, J., Public Finance and Public Policy. 7th edition 2022, Macmillan. 

Optional textbooks:

- Hillman, A. (2019), Public Finance and Public Policy: A Political Economy Perspective on the Responsibilities and Limitations of Government, 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- Remote

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire )

Written work / report

Additional information:

Written work

The work, the presentation thereof and the participation in the discussion will be graded


Online written exam in the form of a multiple choice on a ULiege platform (2/3).

Student assignment (1/3).

Note: The grade of the student presentation and discussion counts for both exam sessions.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

2nd semester


Professor A.Jousten, Bât. B31,  Tél. : +32 4 366 31 98,  e-mail : ajousten@uliege.be
Assistant Giulia Klinges, Bât. B31 Tel. : +32 4 366 30 42 Email: gklinges@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs