General Course Information for PAD640: Public Finance

Course: PAD640 - Public Finance
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Description:

An overview of the fundamental microeconomic analysis of policy issues in public finance, emphasizing taxation. Major topics include public good and externalities, tax incidence and equity and fiscal federalism.

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Integrate the analysis of government spending and taxing with basic economic theory.
  • Describe optimal taxation using standard economic tools.
  • Analyze how the government sets policies and how expenditure and tax policies affect individual behavior.
  • Explain how political views affect attitudes toward public finance 5Identify the tools used by public finance economists to analyze both positive and normative issues.
  • Identify the tools used by public finance economists to analyze both positive and normative issues
  • Discuss the government's approach to solving particular problems and changing the status quo.
  • Describe how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of public expenditures.
  • Construct a theoretical framework for thinking about tax policy.
  • Explain how taxes should be levied to enhance economic efficiency and to promote a fair distribution of income.
  • Analyze the interaction of state, local and federal governments in public finance.
  • Identify the hidden costs of government, welfare economics, and the pure exchange economy.
  • Analyze and discuss the issues of food stamps and child nutrition programs, housing assistance, social security and unemployment in relation to taxation and efficiency.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures