This course examines the role of government in modern market economies, focusing primarily on the United States. In particular we will explore the design and impact of government expenditure programs and taxation systems on the welfare and behavior of its citizens. Among the general questions considered are the following: When is government intervention in the economy appropriate? What is the most effective form of intervention? What effects do government policies have on incentives for firms, individuals, and others in the private sector? The course will cover a wide range of issues in public finance with a primary focus on current policy debates and issues. Topics covered include: school choice, pollution and the environment, income distribution and social insurance, health policy, Social Security, U.S. tax system and tax reform. (ECON 0255) 3 hrs. sem.