EC238-Economics of Social Policy

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: EC113 Introductory Microeconomics EC114 Introductory Macroeconomics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Andi Nygaard


Summary module description:
The module concentrates on how economic analysis can be applied to the real world problems faced by policy makers. Economists are employed in a wide range of fields in government, but this module concentrates on social economic problems. Analysis requires techniques taken from both micro and macro economics. Social economics covers a wide range of issues and the topics chosen will vary from year to year, depending on the current focus of policy interest. But, in general, social economics could cover poverty and inequality, housing, crime, health, education, and urban economics for example. Not all these topics will be covered each year.

The module is intended to equip students with an understanding of contemporary social economic problems and to provide students with the key tools economists use in analysis and policy advice.

Assessable learning outcomes:
This module is designed to examine contemporary real world applications of economic principles. Consequently, it discusses major problems that face policy makers today and the light that economic theory and empirical techniques can shed on them.
At the end of the module, students should be able to:
1. develop an understanding of some major social economic problems and issues that face the UK;
2. develop an appropriate economic framework for analysing the issues under (i);
3. translate policies and policy options into variables under (ii);
4. use the techniques and models under (ii), to analyse the effectiveness or impact of different policy options and changes in policy.

Additional outcomes:
Students are required to give class presentations on their projects. Therefore, through the classes, students are encouraged to improve their presentation skills before an audience of their peers. Since the module is entirely assessed by coursework, students also develop their writing, drafting and research skills. Workshops will develop students' ability to find, collate and present data.

Outline content:
Since the module is intended to cover some key social economic policy issues of the day, the topics covered may vary from year to year. However, a guide to key topics is:
- crime
- housing
- inequality

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The lectures will cover all the main teaching material, although students are required to follow closely media coverage of the main economic issues in addition to reading core academic texts and articles. Workshops will focus on developing data collection, reduction and presentation skills.

Tutorials are student-led presentation and discussion groups for each of the topics. Students are expected to work on their projects throughout the terms and in the allocated 'guided independent study' time.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 6
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Guided independent study 121 50
Total hours by term 150.00 50.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Assessment will differ from that which students may be used to from school and other modules. The coursework should aim to demonstrate a student's understanding and application of economics first and foremost - these are the key assessment criteria.
Two pieces of written coursework are required. Each piece should be approximately 3000 words in length. Project 1 counts for 35%; Project 2 counts for 45%.
Students are required to make one presentation that also forms the basis for feed-forward (comments) into the written assignment. The presentation counts for 20% of the final mark for the module.
As a guide submission deadlines will be: Project 1 week 8 Autumn term, Project 2 week 4 Spring term.

Formative assessment methods:
A data collection, written presentation and interpretation exercise. Submission is compulsory. Writing the projects relies on extensive use and interpretation of data. Following the workshop in week 2, students will independently collect, merge and present (in writing) data.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    There is no examination for this module.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A minimum overall mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-assessment will be on the basis of one further 3000 word project, related to the topics covered in the module. This will not be a re-submission of the earlier project(s). Student will complete the reassessment based on the topic NOT previously attempted and on the basis of new project descriptions. The reassessment project will count for 100% of the mark.
    Assignments for re-assessment are required to be submitted by 21st August 2015.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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