Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

This course is equivalent with ECON3620 – Public Economics

The main objective of the course is to discuss the use of taxes and public expenditures for promoting socially efficient resource allocation and a desirable income distribution. The analysis of tax policy will highlight on the one hand harmful market effects of taxes and on the other hand the role of taxes in supporting public provision of goods and services. On the expenditure side, assessment of public projects is essential. The course will cover central theories and empirical basis for economic policy.

Learning outcome

You should know

  • central concepts and basic models of modern public economics based on second best welfare theory
  • major actual policies and examples of issues currently on the political agenda
  • key concepts characterising types, properties, and effects of taxes and describing publicly provided goods, market imperfections, and second best constraints
  • key models such as the Mirrlees model of taxation with  extensions
  • major principles of cost-benefit analysis

You should be able to

  • explain the economic contents and trade-offs captured by the models
  • discuss the assumptions, relevance, and limitations of the models
  • identify and analyse policy problems in public economics
  • assess arguments appearing in the policy debate

You should

  • be able to read and understand project reports and journal articles that make use of the concepts and methods that are introduced in the course
  • be able to make use of the course content in your own academic work, for example in analyses that are part of the master’s thesis


Students admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students not admitted to the Master’s programme in Economics or the Master’s programme in Economic Theory and Econometrics (Samfunnsøkonomisk analyse), can apply for admission to one of our study programmes, or apply for guest student status.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

  • 10 credits overlap with ECON3620 – Public Economics
  • 10 credits overlap with ECON495 Public economics
  • 10 credits overlap with SOØ495/SØK496 Offentlig økonomi


Lectures and seminars.


A 3-hour written school exam.

Previous exams

Exam papers with comments from examiner

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Students who might wish to retake the exam later, are not guaranteed that the course is ever repeated with a similar reading list, nor that the exam arrangement will be the same.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.



ECON4620 - Public Economics I is the course number for registration for lecture, seminar and exam for the master's students. ECON3620 is the course number for the bachelor's students.

Facts about this course

Every spring
Every spring
Teaching language