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 and EC114 Introductory Macroeconomics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Carl Singleton


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module concentrates on how economic analysis can be applied to the real world problems faced by policy makers. Economic analysis is employed in a wide range of social policies, whether in Government, the third sector but also in private sector organisations. This module concentrates on social economic problems. Analysis requires techniques taken from both micro and macroeconomics. 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, the module could cover poverty and inequality, housing, crime, health, education, labour markets 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 policie s 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 will develop their writing, drafting, research skills, and ability to find 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 the key topics, based on recent years, is as follows: 

  • crime and policing

  • labour supply and demand

  • minimum and living wages

  • economics of family

  • child poverty

  • housing

  • fertility and population

  • migration and the “brain drain”

Global context:

Although the focus is on contemporary and relevant UK social policy issues, these are discussed throughout the module in the context of how other countries tackle similar issues.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The lectures will cover the principal teaching material, and cover all the economic analysis tools students are expected to employ. Some core academic texts and articles are suggested as jumping-off points for wider reading, which is required for the coursework. Students will have the chance to develop their data presentation and analysis skills.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 180
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Report 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
There is no examination for this module.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There will be two written essay-based assignments of 2,000 words (40% each) and a three-page data report/statistical briefing exercise (20%).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

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

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-examination for all modules takes place in August of the same year. Reassessment is by coursework only; this will not be a re-submission of earlier coursework, rather new assignments will be set.  However, if only one or two pieces of assessment fail to meet the standard, then the student will only be required to re-submit a new assignment in lieu of the piece of work they failed. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: None 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: 4 April 2020


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