ECON 320 - Economics of Public Finance

  • 3 credits
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Impact of taxes, government expenditures on allocation of resources, distribution of income, evaluation of government expenditure program; tax policies.

Public Finance is an optional applied course in one of the key field areas of economics. The objective of the course is to equip students with the analytical framework and tools required to discern the efficiency and equity consequences of government spending programs and tax policies. In addition, students should acquire a familiarity with normative analysis of tax and spending policies, based on specified value judgments. Applications to current public issues and policy debates are an integral part of the course.

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

• explain and apply the theoretical and empirical tools of Public Finance;
• analyze and describe the consequences and impacts on fairness of non-rivalry and non-exludability in the form of public goods and of positive and negative externalities;
• explain the various approaches of defining equity in the context of income distribution and describe the various programs in place in the U.S. to address inequity in income distribution;
• explain the efficiency and equity impactions for optimal taxation and apply these concepts to common U.S. taxes.

This course requires the use of electronic proctoring through ProctorU, please see for detailed instructions.  For students requiring accommodations, please contact Resources for Disabled Students; for consideration of exceptions outside the scope of RDS, please contact the University Testing Center


ECON 204 (Principles of Macroeconomics).

Important Information

Prerequisites: Introductory microeconomics, introductory macroeconomics.

Textbook and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Public Finance and Public Policy, 5th Ed.
    Gruber, Jonathan