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Current courses - Winter term 2020/21

All classes by the chair will be offered online as long as necessary. Go to moodle for more specific information about the organization of the courses and grading.

Advanced Public Eocnomics I
(Public Policy)
Instructor Exam Date
Mo, 08.30 - 10.00 h, (online)
Prof. Dr. Silke Übelmesser  
We, 12.15 - 13.45 h, (online)
Regional Dynamics Instructor Exam Date
Thu, 14.15 - 15.45 h, (online)
Prof. Dr. Uwe Cantner
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Henn de
Prof. Dr. Silke Übelmesser
Seminar Public Finance Survey Design for Causal Inference: Applications in Public Economic Research
Blocked course Prof. Dr. Silke Übelmesser, Patrick Bareinz


Summer term 2020

Advanced Public Finance Instructor Exam Date
Mo, 08.30 - 10.00 h, SR 206
(first lecture: )
Prof. Dr. Silke Übelmesser t.b.a.
Fr, 10.15 - 11.45 h, SR 206
 Jana Schütz  
Advanced Public Economics II (Education) Instructor Exam Date
Lecture and Excercise:
Mo, 10.00 - 14.00 h, PC-Pool C
Matthias Huber, Fabian Könings t.b.a.
Seminar Public Finance Empirical causal analysis - methods and applications to public policies
Blocked course (end of June/ beginning of July) Prof. Dr. Silke Übelmesser, Matthias Huber, Fabian Könings

Every term

General Key Qualifications -
Applied Empirical Analyses
Meeting on appointment Matthias Huber, Fabian Könings
Adv. Public Finance - MW23.6 Show content

This course is about different public activities related to the revenue and the expenditure side of the public budget. As to the revenues, in Part I commodity taxes will be discussed with a focus on efficiency and income taxes with a focus on distributional concerns. Public funds may, however, not only be used for redistribution. A major reason for raising revenue is to finance public expenditures related to market failure. In Part II, two types of market failure will be at the center: public goods and externalities.

Whenever appropriate both sides of the budget will be studied in an interrelated way.

Course material

For the course material and e-learning questions, please go to Moodle.

  • Atkinson, A. and J. Stiglitz (1980), Lectures on Public Economics, McGraw-Hill Singapore.
  • Hindriks, J. and G. Myles (2013): Intermediate Public Economics, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Myles, G. (1995), Public Economics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Further references will be announced in class.

For a refresher of math skills: 

  • Chiang, Alpha (1984): Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics, McGraw-Hill, Singapore.
  • Hoy, M. et al. (2011): Mathematics for Eoconomics, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Wisniewski, M. (2013): Mathematics for Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Please also see the Math Primer [pdf, 393 kb] de!

Organisation Details
  • Offered every summer term
  • There will be a 60-minute written exam.

Exams of the previous terms can be found here: Exam 1 [pdf, 166 kb] de

Adv. Public Economics I (Public Policy) - MW23.1 Show content

Public Policy in Open Economies


Globalization has brought about competition among states that is driven by factor mobility. This competition will likely lead to an erosion of the welfare state, induce a race to the bottom of capital taxation and erode national regulatory systems. In general, it will suffer from the same type of market failure which induced the respective government activity in the closed economy in the first place. In this course, the mechanisms behind these market failures will be analysed and possible remedies discussed.

  1. Introduction
  2. Taxes and Public Goods
  3. Erosion of the Welfare State
  4. Ecological Competition
  5. Limited Liability, Risk Taking and the Competition of Bank
  6. The Competition of Competition Rules
Course material

For the course material and e-learning questions, please go to Moodle.

Organisational Details
  • Offered every winter term
Adv. Public Economics II (Education) - MW23.2 Show content

Economics of Education


The module consists of two parts.

1. Lectures with interated tutorials:

First, theoretical basics of education economics and empirical evidence are presented. The aim is to provide an understanding of why people invest in education, what private and social returns to education are and who should finance education. These concepts are then applied to specific topics like intergenerational mobility, student migration and spending on school resources.  Finally, the course takes a look at the macro-perspective in order to investigate the relationship between education and growth.

2. Group project:

After introducing the statistical software Stata, students apply their knowledge of education economics from the first part in empirical research projects. Students use real-world data and perform econometric analysis in Stata. Finally, they present the results of their data analysis and discuss it in the context of causal inference.

  • Knowledge of basic concepts in econometrics, in particular regression analysis
  • Interest in statistical analysis with Stata
  • Experience in applied data analysis is helpful, but not required
Organisational Details
  • Offered regularly in summer - alternating with Adv. PE III and IV.
  • Written exam - midterm after the first part (50% of total grade)
  • Group project with presentation (50% of total grade)
  • 6 ECTS
  • 6 DigiLab points
Adv. Public Economics III (Health Economics) - MW23.5 Show content

Health Economics


This course combines applied microeconomics with public finance / social policy questions. A particular focus will be on the various incentives which individuals face in their health-related behavior and which are largely shaped by the form of their health insurance. Possible questions: Why do developed societies decide to have social health insurance? What is the optimal design of health insurance? What about risk selection? Other topics will also be dealt with (e. g. concerning the special role played by physicians).


Part I: Introduction
1. Introduction
3. Health and education (health production)

Part II: Insurance market
5. Market failure and justice
6. Optimal health insurance contracts
7. Risk selection and regulation

Part III: Providers
8. Physicians as a supplier of health care services
10. Paying providers

(Numbering of chapters accourding to book chapters)

  • Zweifel, Breyer, Kifmann (2009): Health Economics, Springer (or the German edition).
  • Further references will be announced in class.
Organisational Details
  • Offered regularly in summer - alternating with Adv. PE II and IV.
  • Written exam; and may consist of additional forms of students' assessments (the exact weights will be announced at the beginning of the course).
Adv. Public Economics IV (Special Topics) - MW23.3 Show content

Education and Population Economics


In the first part of this course, we will study different aspects of (primary and secondary) education. In particular, the determinants of students' cognitive achievements will be looked at in some detail, e.g. referring to socio-economic but also school characteristics. Further, we will consider how education and experience translate into wages and economic growth. The second part encompasses population economics topics, e.g. gender differences in labor market outcomes. Moreover, we will study (the determinants of) preferences for redistribution.

Note: The first part can be seen as being complementary to Advanced Public Economics II (MW23.2): Education Economics.

  1. Education Economics: Primary and Secondary Education
    1. Introduction
    2. Demand for Education
    3. Supply of Education
    4. Education Outcomes and Growth

  2. Population Economics
    1. Gender Economics
    2. Preferences for Redistribution
Course material

For the course material and e-learning questions, please go to Moodle.

  • Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson (2005): Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Blau, Francine D., Anne C. Gielen, and Klaus F. Zimmermann (2012). Gender, inequality, and wages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Checchi, Daniele (2007): The Economics of Education, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Hanushek, Eric, A., Stephen J. Machin, Ludger Woessmann (2001): Handbook of the Economics of Education, Vol. 3+4, North Holland, Amsterdam (in parts).
  • Persson, Torsten and Guido Tabellini (2000): Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy, Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  • Further references will be announced in class.
Organisational Details
  • Offered regularly in summer - alternating with Adv. PE II and III
  • Written exam; and may consist of additional forms of students' assessments (the exact weights will be announced at the beginning of the course).
Regional Dynamics - MW26.6 Show content

This course is about two different, but related perspectives for the study of regional dynamics: the perspective of economics and the perspective of regional science (geography). Students will learn about different methods in the context of real-world examples. The aim is to make students aware of differences and similarities.

Course material

The course material will be available here.

Organisation Details
  • This course is compulsory for the specialisation area Regional Dynamics. This area provides an interdisciplinary approach to a better understanding of regional dynamics. The perspectives both of economics and regional science (geography) are part of the program. This allows a more comprehensive approach to topics like migration, innovation and, more generally, economic and social change, which very often have an important regional dimension. Furthermore, also topics of special relevance for the local region are addressed. A special feature of this area is that it can be studied with an economics and a geographic background. German and English language skills are required for that specialisation area.
  • Offered every winter term
  • There will be a written exam.
Seminar Public Finance - MW23.4 Show content
Applied Empirical Analyses - MW265.5 Show content

Module description

The main goal of the module MW26.5 offered by the Chair of Public Finance is that students do an empirical analysis based on theoretical economic literature.    

The structure of the module is as follows: By the end of October (winter term) or April (summer term) students who want to participate in the module inform the chair about their interest. In consultation with the chair, a topic and a dataset/ datasets for the empirical analysis is chosen. During the semester, the participants of the module are expected to conduct their statistical analyses on their own. If in need, an appointment with the supervisor can be scheduled. The results of the empirical analysis together with (additional) theoretical literature must be presented in an oral presentation at the end of the semester.

The chair is in the possession of several datasets which the students are invited to use. Those datasets mainly focus on migration and include data on international students as well as language learning opportunities. Questions such as "How does the assimilation of international students at university work? Do friends play a role in this assimilation process?" or "How does climate change affect language learning?" are two examples of questions which can be answered with this data. However, students are also invited to use other datasets and discuss other possible topics with the chair.

Important to note is that this module requires some knowledge of how to conduct an empirical analysis using a statistical software (e.g. STATA or R). This module does not provide an introduction in any statistical software. In addition, it has to be mentioned that the number of participants is limited and depends on the chair’s capacities.

Successfully passing this courses is rewarded with 6 DigiLab points. This course also provides an excellent preparation for an empirical master thesis at the Chair of Public Finance.

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