Chair of Public Finance

Seminar Public Finance (Master)

Public Finance Seminar (Master): Topics in Optimal Taxation

This seminar is based on the two courses “Advanced Computational Economics” and “Optimal Tax Theory”. The idea is to work on a specific optimal tax problem  (which was typically recently published) and  develop

  1. either a similar model structure to calculate optimal tax rates numerically
  2. or to work on a theoretical paper and explain the derivation of the tax formulas in detail.


Topics for the seminar are flexible and need to be discussed with interested students before in detail. Examples for a possible thesis may be:  


  1. Optimal taxation of families with endogenous fertility
  2. Optimal social insurance contracts
  3. Optimal capital income taxation with and without uncertainty
  4. The optimal structure of direct and indirect taxes


General Organisation and Grading

Topics are chosen by students who have enrolled in the seminar (via FLIP already in June 2023). Depending on the topic students are assigned to a specific advisor who helps to develop the numerical model and/or prepare the thesis (25-30 pages). The thesis can be written in German, but its presentation must be in English. The final grade depends on the written thesis and its presentation (50/50). Students who have finally accepted a topic, but do not submit a thesis without a specific excuse have failed the seminar. 
The Seminar is offered in the Summer and Winter term.   

Time table

  • End of semester: Topics are assigned to enrolled students (Enrollment via FLIP)
  • Beginning of semester: Final acceptance by students and meetings with advisor
  • End of semester: Submission of seminar thesis
  • End of exam period: Flexible presentation of thesis

The seminar thesis is typically prepared with Word. We encourage to use the following format