Understand the role of government in the economy

Having a strong understanding of economics can help public policy professionals communicate effectively with economists and make well-informed decisions.

This eight-week online course will give you the foundation in economics principles that you need to confidently engage with economists on policy issues. You will examine the role of markets in the economy and explore how government policy can affect their performance. Discussions include how markets can achieve various economic goals, why they sometimes fail to do so, and what government interventions can be used to improve market outcomes.

By the end of the course, you will be able to apply economic analysis to real-world policy problems.

Find out more about Economics for Public Policy and enrol now.

At a glance
Registration closes: Friday 2 February 2024
Programme datesStarts 3 February 2024
Duration8 weeks
What markets can achieve, why they sometimes fail, and what governments can do in response

Topics covered in this course include microeconomics, the theory of individual rational choice, supply and demand, markets and efficiency, patterns of trade, imperfect competition, asymmetric information, missing markets, raising revenue through taxation, and macroeconomics.

On completion of the Economics for Public Policy course, you can expect to:

  • understand mainstream economics, identify relevant applications, and the limitations of this approach;
  • be able to articulate the economic rationale for government intervention in a variety of global settings, and critically appraise specific policy responses; and 
  • appreciate the challenges associated with the design and finance of public policy, both in theory and practice.

You will engage in a variety of readings, reflection exercises, multiple-choice questions, and discussion forums. Your facilitator will guide you through these different types of activity and provide feedback at each stage. While these are not formally graded components of the course, your participation in each is necessary to successfully complete the course and earn your certificate.

Learn from the University of Oxford’s expert faculty from wherever you are in the world.

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Course overview