ECON 130

Public Finance

Description: Lecture, three hours. Requisites: courses 11, 101, 103. Enforced corequisite: course 130L. Role of government in market economy. Alternative justifications for government intervention. Principles and effects of spending programs (especially social insurance and health), taxation, deficit financing, and federal credit programs. Taxation in open economy. Properties of public choice mechanisms. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 4.6
Easiness 3.8 / 5
Clarity 4.6 / 5
Workload 2.8 / 5
Helpfulness 4.6 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2020 - After talking to quite a few people in this class, I think we all could agree that the reviews are a little too generous. Professor Lleras-Muney is such a nice and of course, knowledgeable professor. Her lectures are enjoyable for the most part (although I admit watching them at 2X speed after they were posted), but the biggest issue for this class was simply time. The midterm was very time constraint and there was simply too many questions that required a lot of explanations. Partial credit was generously given, but also taken away too easily. She had practice exams posted with the solutions and the solutions themselves were essay long answers. She did clarify that she was not expecting those kind of answers, that it was mostly to be complete, but that's what it felt like for the midterm. She was kind enough to add 9 points to our raw score so at least she saw that the expectations were a little too high. Another major point that is not emphasized enough in the previous reviews are group work. Super time consuming and you absolutely need to have at least one person in the group be comfortable with R, Stata, or whatever coding program you're using. This class is basically like a writing class because every group work assignment requires at least a 3 page memo. Now, this sounds easy, but she posts an outline of what she wants with a bunch of questions and most are very broad so you kinda have to pick and choose. It feels like you need to evaluate which are the most important questions and then supplement it with the correct graphs, etc. Presentations are not too bad, but the data problems and memos are very tedious so make sure your group is on top of things since assignments are due Friday @ 9am. The final..... so because of the midterm, she decided to make the final "take-home" aka she gave the final ahead of time & about a week and two days to do it. It was extremely time consuming and long. Depending on how many people you were working with (max 3), you had to answer at least 2 questions each worth 100 points. One part was a 4 page essay, the second part was a 5 page data report memo, and the third part was mathematical computations (which were not even taught directly in class so you had to figure that out on your own). So, overall, I guess you just had to pick your poison and pick which two (or three if you were 3 people) parts you wanted to do. While it was super long, the scores and final grades were pretty high so it paid off. This class is definitely not a class you can just put in the back of your head since each week you have group work and presentations. The material is interesting which is a plus, and it's very relevant to how the government works and current economic policies. It's a nice change from theoretical classes that rely on models and formulas. This is a great class and you really do learn a lot from it, just be ready to spend a lot of time on busy work and presentations!
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