The course is based on the fundamental idea that the role of government is to maximise the well-being - or simply happiness - of its citizens. The course expounds many truths – both intuitive and unintuitive – in 9 fascinating, edifying lessons, using only simple words and decoding professional terminologies that sometimes baffle the intelligent layman. Although it frequently uses examples from the United States and Europe, it does not focus on policies in any particular region of the world and is directly applicable to all countries worldwide.
After completing this course, you should be able to:
- Better understand economic issues presented in the media;
- Form an informed opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of presented social economic policies;
- Define and measure inequality and poverty;
- Define the relationship between inequality (income, wealth) and economic growth
- Explain the foundations of economic growth.
- Create a tax and transfer system that maximises individual happiness.
1. What do we Need a State For?
- Course promo
- 1.1 What is the Policymaker’s Goal?
- 1.2 Maximizing Happinness: The case of Bhutan
- 1.3 The Experiencing Self vs. the Remembering Self
- 1.4 How Can the State Promote its Goal?
- 1.5 The Ultimatum Game
- 1.6 Financing Public Goods
- 1.7 Providing Public Goods
- 1.8 Internalizing Externalities
- 1.9 Climate Change
2. The Relationship between Efficiency and Distributive Justice
- 2.1 Defining and Measuring Economic Growth
- 2.2 The Intuition of the Economic Growth Model
- 2.3 Innovation (technology) as the Key to Economic Growth
- 2.4 When Efficiency Promotes Equality
- 2.5 When Inequality is Inefficient
- 2.6 When Policy is Counter-Intuitive: The Classic Example of Comparative Advantage
- 2.7 When there is a Trade-off Between Efficiency and Equality
- 2.8 Using the Leaky Bucket Parable to Explain what is a Social Welfare Function
3. Demonstrating Implications of Different Ethical Theories
- 3.1 Distributive Justice Theories: Libertarianism and Utilitarianism
- 3.2 Distributive Justice Theories: Maximin
- 3.3 Distributive Justice Theories: Egalitarianism and Weighted Utilitarianism
- 3.4 Understanding the Concept of Diminishing Marginal Utility from Consumption
- 3.5 Policy Implications of Assuming Diminishing Marginal Utility from Consumption
- 3.6 Illustrating Utilitarianism with a Real Life Example: Presenting the example
- 3.7 Conventional Analysis of Taxing Damages Paid for Loss of Earnings
- 3.8 Conventional Analysis of Taxing Damages for Medical Expenses and for Pain and Suffering
4. Distributive Justice: Measurement and Implications
- 4.1 Public Finance Analysis: Choosing the tax rule that would maximize Social Welfare
- 4.2 Public Finance Analysis of Taxing Damages for Lost Earnings
- 4.3 Public Finance Analysis of Taxing the Reimbursement of Medical Expenses
- 4.4 Public Finance Analysis of Taxing Damages for Pain and Suffering
- 4.5 The Policy Process: Summarizing what we've learnt from the Real Life Example
- 4.6 Accounting for the Fact that People Live in Families
- 4.7 Measuring Income Inequality
- 4.8 Defining and Measuring Poverty
- Conclusion of Part I