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Economic Policy and Public Choice


Lecture with Tutorial in WS 2016/2017

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Department for Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory


Lecture: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker

Time:Wed, 10-12h
Room:HS 2121, KG II
Start:Semester week 2

Tutorial: Matthew Bonick

Time:Tues, 14-16h
Room:HS 2004 KG III
Start:Semester week 3

Supplementary Tutorials: TBA

General 1:Wed, 16-18 HS 1199
General 2:

Thu , 12-14 HS 2004

NBS:Tue,8-10 HS 1134
German Tues, 16-18  Herman-Herder-Str. 6.  01 007 


Target Group and Language

  • This course is designated for first-year students of the M.Sc. Economics program (economics and politics), the M.Sc. VWLprogram, the M.Sc. BWL program and Diplom-Students (Hauptstudium). Exchange students are equally welcome to participate.
  • If students of other faculties (e.g. political science) wish to participate, they should contact the tutor by email before the third week of the semester.
  • Recommended prerequisites: Good knowledge of microeconomics.
  • This module is entirely taught in English.

Credits: 6 ECTS

  • M.Sc. Economics: First-year course for profile "Economics and Politics".
  • M.Sc. VWL (PO2014): "Wirtschaftspolitik" and "Constitutional Economics and Competition Policy".
  • M.Sc. VWL (PO2011): "Wirtschaftspolitik (Ordnungspolitik)".
  • Diplom VWL: "Wirtschaftspolitik (Ordnungspolitik)" and "Ordnungs- und Wettbewerbspolitik".


Downloads & Content

  • Outlines and slides will be provided at this website.
  • Literature will be provided on Ilias.
  • The passwords will be provided in the first sessions of the lecture and tutorial.







  1. Introduction
  2. Economic problems of economic policy
    1. Economic man and collective action
    2. Allocation and exchange
    3. Distribution and conflict
    4. Liberty and welfare
    5. Implementation and reform
    6. Stability and sustainability
  3. The public choice of economic policy
    1. Rational and behavioral public choice
    2. Positive and normative public choice
  4. Institutions and hierarchies of public choice
    1. Authoritarian policy formation
      1.1 Leviathan governments
      1.2 Autocratic regimes
    2. Democratic organization and voting rules
      2.1 Rational voting and basic voting systems
      2.2 Direct and representative democracy
      2.3 Legislature and Bureaucracy
      2.4 Interest groups, rent-seeking and lobbying
    3. Spatial hierarchy
      3.1 Federalism
      3.2 Supranational policy choice
  5. Liberal concepts of economic policy formation
    1. Ordoliberal design
    2. Liberal paternalism
    3. Constitutional political economy
  6. Application to special policy issues
    1. Redistribution in democracy
    2. Organizing the just welfare state
    3. Market regulation and privatization
    4. Constitutional budget constraints and their effects on economic policy


Introductory Textbooks:
  • Hillman, A.L.: Public Finance and Public Policy, 2nd Ed., Cambridge 2009.
  • Mueller, D.C.: Public Choice III, Cambridge 2003.
Additional readings will be announced in the lecture and tutorial.


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