The course aims to analyze the interactions that exist between economic
systems and formal and informal institutions, and to study both from a
theoretical and an empirical perspective different approaches to public policy
intervention in the economy.
Particular attention is devoted to the analysis of the role of government and its
influence on the economy, and to the role of the public sector in the promotion
of sustainable economic development.
Typical tools of law and regulation will be presented, as well as advanced
public economic topics such as fiscal federalism, tax evasion, and tax
The final part of the course focuses on public policies for the environment, and
it introduces methods for cost-benefit analysis and counterfactual policy
The emphasis of the course will be on understanding how the theoretical tools
can be applied to analyze real world issues. To this end, empirical evidence and
case studies will be widely discussed in light of the theory.
At the end of the course the students will be able to master state-of-the art
economic tools necessary to evaluate the financial sustainability of public
policies and to assess the potential impact of public policy interventions for a
I. The role of government:
- Policy instrument choices: why an instrument over another?
- The making of regulations/taxation: State vs. Federal decisions
II. Advances in Taxation
- Fiscal federalism
- Optimal taxation and tax evasion
- Impact evaluation of tax reforms: endogeneity issues
- Introduction to economic regulation
- Incentive regulation
- Regulation in the energy sector
- Behavioral economics and regulation: risk perception, risk ambiguity
and behavioral nudges
IV. Public Policies for the Environment
- Externalities and the Coase theorem
- Regulatory and fiscal policies for the environment
- Environmental cost-benefit analysis
- Policy evaluation
- Public Policies for the Environment: a comparison between Italy, the EU
and the US
The course combines traditional lectures with empirical applications aimed at
applying concepts previously introduced. Both traditional lectures and
empirical sessions aim at fostering participation and class discussion.
Collection of readings and case studies will be indicated during the course.
The procedure and content of the exam will be the same for both attending and
non-attending students. The final evaluation consists of:
- Applied assignment during the semester based on case studies (40%)
- Written exam at the end of the semester (60%)