Markets: Efficiency and Taxation

Sun 16 July 2017


8:00 Breakfast
8:45 Director ’s Introduction and Academic Briefing
9:00 Demand and Supply I  (Peter Eso)
10:00 Syndicate Discussion
11:15 Demand and Supply II (Peter Eso)
12:15 Break, followed by Lunch at 12:30
1:15 Syndicate Discussion
2:15 Income and Equality in Europe and The UK  (Robert Joyce)
3:15 Syndicate Discussion
4:30 Taxation: A UK Case Study (Robert Joyce)
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Depart Egrove for a tour of Oxford with Isabella Underhill


In the first two lectures of today we continue with the topic of how markets work and also how they may be created. Having experimented with market behaviour yesterday, the first lecture discusses in more detail what lies behind the demand and supply sides of markets and the mechanisms that bring these into balance.  Then, in the second lecture, we discuss how to interpret observed changes in prices and quantities in markets, whether market outcomes can be improved on and the effect of government intervention in markets. In particular, if markets are such a good idea why are societies so unequal?  Economics began as the study of how scarce resources could be assigned between competing uses.  The market mechanism is one way to do this. It can produce outcomes which are ‘efficient’ – but also potentially very unfair. In the third lecture we take the European experience as a case study and ask just how well the market mechanism has performed to date. If the situation is to be changed then government will have to act. Governments raise revenue through taxes to attain social objectives, but the government’s power to tax and spend can be both a solution and a problem. The final lecture considers in more detail how taxation affects market outcomes and takes the UK as its case study.

Peter Eso – Syndicate Tutor

Peter is a Associate Professor (Reader) in Economics and Tutorial 315_Peter_EsoFellow of Jesus College, Oxford University. After completing a PhD in Economics at Harvard University, Peter became an Assistant Professor at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (USA) in 2001. He joined Oxford in 2009, and has been teaching Microeconomics and Game Theory at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research focuses on game theory and the economics of information, studying questions such as the role of risk aversion in trading games (e.g. auctions); communication and bargaining when parties may obtain provable information; and what determines the  price of advice (how to sell and disclose information).  Peter occasionally advises companies on auctions of telecommunication licenses.

Robert Joyce – Institute for Fiscal Studies

Robert Joyce is a Research Economist in the Direct Tax and Welfare sector. His main research interests are in the evolution of living standards, the design of the tax and benefit system, and the relationship between the two. He has been involved in several recent and current projects that attempt to simulate future levels of poverty and average incomes in the UK. Other work has focused on the determinants and consequences of children’s early developmental indicators. Current research looks at whether parental marital status has any causal impact on children’s cognitive and social skills; and whether early mental health problems have significant economic impacts later in life.

Isabella Underhill – Guided Tour Oxford

Many visitors arrive in Oxford with a just a vague knowledge of its world famous university; few know anything at all about the city that surrounds it. In her tours Isabella Underhill, long term Oxford resident and established city guide, attempts to knit together the many stories that have contributed to its present incarnation, from the time of the town’s Anglo-Saxon construction, through the struggles of town versus gown and the central role played by the university in almost every major national event. Oxford has been the spawning ground of countless Prime Ministers, philosophers, scientists, writers – notably Tolkein, C.S.Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde and the poet Shelley – played host to Elizabeth I on state visits and to Charles I during the English Civil War – provided useful shelter for government in World War II (famously Hitler never bombed Oxford), nurtured the talent of Rowan Atkinson and Alan Bennett and, successfully competing with the world’s top universities, fights hard against its reputation as haven to the rich and privileged. All go to make up the astonishing narrative of the English speaking world’s oldest university. Isabella has a BA Hons History of Art and Italian UCL.