Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Economics of Social Policy

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit examines the rationale that leads to the evolving intervention by governments in the supply of welfare services in a country. It introduces the economic tools that can be used to derive critical assessments by government agencies in setting up sustainable welfare systems. The economic and demographic realities of a country are seen as important parameters within which decision making has to take place.

Study-unit Aims:

- Introduce basic analytical concepts regarding public sector budgeting, welfare support programmes and their financing, and cost-benefit analysis;
- Apply such concepts/basic models to Maltese situation;
- Make students aware of certain limitations in interpreting economic concepts and translating them into real-world parameters that can be usefully applied when drawing up policy measures.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Be in a position to explain the importance of cost-benefit analysis;
- Employ economic techniques to monetise non-priced resources;
- Demonstrate awareness about the unintended consequences of public policy;
- Explain and analyse the multi-dimensional aspect of welfare and socialpolicy;
- Analyse human behaviour according to policy setup.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Assess numerically the economic benefits and costs of social projects;
- Compile reports that explain the net economic benefit of social projects;
- Ability to think beyond the direct impact that arises from public policy;
- Influence human behaviour through policy design.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Barr, N. (2004) The Economics of the Welfare State, 4th ed. Oxford University Press.
- European Commission (2008) Cost-Benefit Analysis Manual [Available online from the European Union Commission Publications].


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 30%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Marie Briguglio
Godwin Mifsud

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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.