Economics (ECON) 380

Public Finance/Expenditure (Revision 2)

ECON 380 course cover

Revision 2 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

View previous version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science; can also be taken towards Applied Studies (Business and Administrative Studies) by credential students only.

Prerequisite: ECON 247 or equivalent

Centre: Faculty of Business

ECON 380 has a Challenge for Credit option.

check availability


This course discusses the basic economics tools required to evaluate government policies for expenditures on health care, public pensions, Employment Insurance, education, and social welfare programs. The course has been divided into two parts. The first part (Lessons 1 to 8) addresses the common causes of market failure as well as how government can intervene to correct such failures. Emphasis is placed on the theory of public choice, externalities, and income distribution. The second part of the course (Lessons 9 to 13) addresses how the tools discussed in the first part can be applied to evaluate social insurance and social welfare policies.


  • Unit 1: The Meaning of Public Finance
  • Unit 2: Market Failure and Income Redistribution Implications of Public Policy
  • Unit 3: Political Economy
  • Unit 4: Social Insurance Program Expenditures (Health Care, Employment Insurance, and Public Pensions)
  • Unit 5: Social Welfare and Education Programs


Final grades in ECON 380 will be based on three quizzes, two written assignments, an essay assignment with online discussion activities, and a Final Examination. To receive credit for this course, you must achieve an overall course grade of “D” (50 percent). In addition, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent)) on the Final Examination. The weighting of each assessment activity is as follows:

Quiz 1 Quiz 2 Quiz 3 Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Final Exam Total
5% 5% 5% 10% 10% 10% 55% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Rosen, H. S., Wen, J-F., & Snoddon, T. (2012). Public finance in Canada (4th Canadian ed.). McGraw-Hill Ryerson. ISBN: 978-0-07-007183-4

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ECON 380 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least 50 per cent on the examination.

Online Exam (3 hours)

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, November 4, 2013.

View previous version