The contemporary controversy about the relative merits of the State vs the Market—and implications as to which should be used to solve current societal problems—deserves to be debated with the aid of adequate tools. What reasons justify an intervention of the State? How can we design a role for the State that is compatible with market rules? Economic analysis can help us to understand the overall role of public authorities in the economy. One of the challenges is to understand how public spending, the regulation of economic activities, and the taxation system—among other elements—influence the decision to invest, to consume, and to work, etc. There are in fact numerous theories which justify—and condemn—State intervention as well as explain its modalities. The two principal conceptions of the State oppose one another: on the one hand, liberal economic theory suggests that the State should only intervene in case of a market failure; on the other hand, interventionist theory suggests that the State has a mission to stabilise the economy, to redistribute wealth, and to reallocate resources, and therewith to complete a wide range of other tasks.
Some of the documents for this course are available on the online Moodle platform. This tool offers students a platform for exchange; they can interact through it, and it can help them develop ideas about the public policies they have personally chosen to analyse.
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