Economics of Social Protection

Degree Program: Social Administration/ Social Policy and Administration Pathway (5th semester – compulsory)

Degree Program: Political Science (5th semester – elective)

Teaching hours: 3 per week

Course tutors: Papatheodorou Christos, Professor

Ioannidis Alexis, Assistant Professor

CVs :


Course website:

Description and Aims:

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the use of economic methods and tools to investigate and interpret issues related to Social Protection and, in general, to Social Policy. The course is based on considerations developed in the broader context of neoclassical paradigm, providing – where appropriate – references to other theoretical approaches, and thereby encouraging a critical approach to negotiated issues. The neoclassical economic school is often labeled as a conventional, dominant, mainstream or even orthodox. These descriptions do not imply a universal acceptance of neoclassical approaches. They only mark the dominance of this school of thought in contemporary university teaching and research. It should however be noted that the neoclassical theory is not a compact unit. Different approaches in the analysis of individual issues are visible in many cases.

Students will be also introduced to specific economic arguments of alternative theoretical “paradigms” in the analysis of issues related to (or associated with) Social Policy. These issues are often specialized sections of the economic analysis that is usually taught at an advanced level, using demanding techniques. In this course, the use of such techniques and formalisms is mostly avoided. Instead, emphasis is put on establishing and drawing the main arguments developed in the analysis of various Social Protection issues. The aim is to create appropriate stimuli for a critical approach to the economics of social protection.


  • Main topics:
  • Social justice and the state.
  • Economic theory and key arguments for state intervention.
  • Economic science and social policy. Alternative considerations in the context of different theoretical paradigms.
  • Introduction to basic economic concepts and definitions. Alternative considerations. Issues of production and distribution. The role of the market.
  • Economic and social welfare, social objectives and resource allocation. Efficiency and Equity. Economic rationale for government intervention. Market failures.
  • Social and economic inequalities, distribution and redistribution of income, poverty.
  • Externalities.
  • Cost-benefit analysis and its application in assessing social programs.
  • Health – care.
  • Education.
  • Employment-Unemployment.
  • Insurance – Social Security.
  • Social welfare.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • critically approach the way that economic science examines the role of Social Protection, both overall and in the analysis of the specific issues traditionally tackled in Social Policy.
  • understand the underlying assumptions and arguments of economic science in the interpretation and understanding of economic interventions within the broader field of social policy.
  • seek out and use basic tools and methods of economic analysis in exploring issues related to the broader role of Social Protection in modern societies.


A written examination at the end of the semester (100%).
Supplementary assessment (written course work) in consultation with the staff (+20%). The grade of each assessment method, written examination and written course work, should be 5 or more.



  • Stiglitz, J., 2000, Economics of the public sector (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company
  • Rosen, H.S., & Gayer T., 2010, Public Finance (9th Ed.). Chicago: Irwin. [In Greek: Rosen, H. S., Gayer, Τ., Ράπανος, Β. Θ. & Καπλάνογλου, Γ., 2011. Δημόσια Οικονομική. Νέα βελτιωμένη έκδοση προσαρμοσμένη στην περίπτωση της Ελλάδος. Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Κριτική.]


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  • Knapp, 1994. The Economics of Social Care. London: Macmillan.
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