PUBLIC FINANCE AND BUDGETING
2018/2019, Semester 2
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy)
Modular Credits: 4
PUBLIC FINANCE AND BUDGETING PP5504, SEMESTER II 2018
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
INSTRUCTOR: DR. LI HUI
: Thu 9 a.m. -12 p.m.
: MM Seminar Room 2-1
OTH Building (Wing B) 03-01J
: Monday 1:00-5:00 p.m.- or by appointment
This course examines key concerns in public finance and budgeting, focusing in particular on issues regarding spending, taxing, and financing. The material covered is detailed below.
Main topics comprise the function and structure of operating and capital budgets; the budget cycle, including budget preparation, approval, execution, and audit; budget evaluation; and financial reporting and fiscal condition.
Subjects include overview and role of government spending in the context of market failure, especially as related to externalities, public goods, and information asymmetries; intergovernmental transfers and local government spending.
Subject matter consists of the types and structures of taxation and standard criteria for evaluating revenue raising options; the major forms of taxation, including those on labor, consumption, savings, and wealth; deficit finance and debt management.
The objective of the module is to develop a thorough understanding of basic terms, concepts, and methods in public finance and budgeting. At a minimum, students will become intelligent consumers of public finance and budgeting information. The course stresses policy-relevant ideas and applications as opposed to esoteric technical and/or abstract concerns. Best practices and regional examples are highlighted throughout the course.
The class will follow the outline below, recognizing the need for flexibility. Assigned readings should be completed prior to class since a lecture/discussion format will be used, including liberal use of discussion questions, in-class exercises and brief papers designed to stimulate thinking about and understanding of public finance and budgeting.
Required Text and Readings
John L. Mikesell, Fiscal Administration: analysis and applications for the public sector, International Edition 10e, Cengage Learning, Inc. ISBN: 9781305953680. Available for purchase at the NUS co-op @ BTC Branch or directly from the Cengage SG e-store
at a special adoption price (SGD69.90 after applying the discount code PP5504, with free delivery 6-7 working days within Singapore).
In addition, we will be making liberal use of handouts and other reading material to supplement the text as we go along. Several of the supplementary readings are identified in the “Class Schedule” section below and posted on IVLE, others will be distributed as appropriate. For those interested in additional readings, I will be happy to suggest some titles and provide materials from my personal library. You will also find it valuable to read a daily newspaper to keep abreast of budget issues—many are covered regularly—and they will be used as a springboard for class discussion.
You must check your university e-mail on a routine basis. If you do not regularly log into your NUS personal E-mail account, it is recommended that you have your NUS personal e-mail account email forwarded to the address that you do use regularly. I will send you handouts and assignments as well as any necessary updates and comments through that account.
Grading will be based on one take-home assignment (40%), one group budget project (40% for group report and 10% for group presentation) and class participation (10%).
. The take-home assignment is intended to encourage hands-on learning experience and measure ability to apply knowledge and skills in the study of public finance and budgeting. The assignment is due at the beginning of the class period indicated in the Class Schedule. It is worth 40% of the student’s final grade.
Group budget project
. The second component of the course grade will be a group budget project which constitutes 50% of the student’s final grade. This project may be conducted with one or two partners of your choice – partners can only be other students in this class. The group report represents 40% of the course final grade and the group presentation represents 10%. The report can take one of two forms; either a national/sub-national government budget case study or a national/sub-national functional analysis. Both are described in more detail below. The report should have additional appendices in which each group member discusses in one-to-two paragraphs his or her contribution to the final product.
The purposes of the budget project are:
Familiarize you with your own national/sub-national government and its budgets and processes;
Encourage you to relate budget concepts and processes examined in class to your country/region’s situations;
Allow you to apply field research techniques in the study of public finance and budgeting; and
Provide an opportunity to demonstrate writing and presentation skills.
Given that the project comprises 50% of your grade, we will talk often in class about these projects and I am more than happy to spend whatever time you need outside of class to make your efforts successful. The report must be in essay form, typed, though not book length; source materials—interviews, documents, and so on—should be identified. The report is due in two stages: you should submit the topic of your report by Week 8, which accounts for 10% of your final grade, and then submit the final report by Week 13, which accounts for 30% of your final grade. Nevertheless, earlier submission of the topic is encouraged.
The national/sub-national government budget case study involves a narrative report describing the budget process in your national/-sub-national government (country, province/state, city, township, county, village – alternatives may be considered but must be approved in advance). To organize your inquiry and analysis, use the following basic questions: who, what, when, where, why and how.
As an alternative, I will also accept a report on a national/sub-national government function such as education or transportation. The focus will be similar to that described above, although the scope is obviously more narrow. The intent is to allow you to become an “expert” on the budget and budget issues and challenges associated with a particular governmental function of interest.
A note on presentation
Each group will present your work to the class in a fifteen-minute presentation. Presenters should be concise, organized, and very conscious of the time (presentations will be stopped at 16 minutes, regardless of whether everyone has had a chance to speak). Additionally, presenters should convey professionalism in their dress and style of presentation (be sure to practice first and make effective use of audio-visual aids like PowerPoint). Presentations will be followed by a five-minute question-and-answer period.
Presentations are worth 10% of the final grade.
Much of what you will learn will come from experiences we have in class and much of the learning will require your participation. Students are expected to share their knowledge and opinions of lectures, required readings and related materials. If you are shy and don't want to speak in class, you may earn your participation by coming with your questions to my office hours.
Group Budget Project
Budget Project Group Report
Budget Project Topic
Budget Project Final Report
Budget Project Group Presentation
The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy does not tolerate cheating and/or plagiarism in any form. Those students who violate the NUS Honor Code and LKYSPP Plagiarism guidelines will be subject to penalty. To avoid giving the impression that you are passing off other people’s work as your own, you will need to acknowledge conscientiously the sources of information, ideas, and arguments used in your paper. Please refer to the handout that was given to you at the Workshop on Plagiarism conducted during the Orientation period. It is advisable to set the reference style in your Word Document program to ‘Chicago Style’.
Other Course Policies
Regular and consistent attendance is necessary to do well in this class. Attendance is taken to enforce University attendance policies.
All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date due. Late submission of assignments is not accepted without prior approval. Late assignments will be assessed a penalty of 10% per day. No exceptions are made.
This syllabus serves as a general outline. The instructor reserves the right to modify any part of the plan as necessary. Students will be notified promptly of any such modifications.