Fiscal Reform and Development

Subject LAWS70162 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 - 26 contact hours per subject.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Subject Overview:

Today, attention is increasingly focused on fiscal policy – taxing and spending – to deliver fair and sustainable economic development in countries across the globe. Fiscal Reform and Development is co-taught by leading scholars who have published and consulted widely on these topics in international forums. It examines how governments and citizens can raise revenue to fund poverty relief, redistribution and development goals and the role of international institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in establishing global norms and rules to encourage fiscal reform in nation states. Through a focus on topical country and global case studies, it will equip participants from development, international law and tax backgrounds to analyse critically the law and policy of budgets, tax systems and expenditure policy, and the interaction between the global and the national in fiscal reform.

Fiscal Reform and Development will provide an overview of budgets and fiscal systems, policy and law design principles and will then examine a number of case studies of topical fiscal reform projects and issues for particular countries.

Principal topics will include:

  • Budget policy and laws, including fiscal balance or deficit, transparency and accountability laws
  • Tax mix, statistics and structures; expenditure mechanisms, statistics and policy
  • Fiscal policy principles, including: Sustainability, efficiency, fairness, administrability and budget constraints
  • Tax law design and drafting
  • Tax incentives for regional or international investment
  • Tax havens and global administrative tax issues
  • Domestic and international processes of fiscal reform.

A candidate who has successfully completed the subject should:

  • Understand the link between governmental tax and expenditure policy, otherwise known as fiscal policy, and development
  • Understand the goals of fiscal reform in the context of broader development goals
  • Have a good general understanding of tax and spending mechanisms and policy
  • Understand international and domestic processes of fiscal reform, and the institutions and experts involved in fiscal reform for development
  • Be able to analyse critically some key blueprints for fiscal reform in developing countries, including Letters of Intent and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), developed by countries together with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
  • Be able to locate resources in respect of fiscal reform and development both generally and for particular countries, especially online resources
  • Be able to analyse issues in fiscal reform and make recommendations in a particular development context.

Class presentation (10%) and short written assignment (10%) (19 April)

Take-home examination (80%) (12 pm 11 May to 5 pm 14 May)


8,000 word research paper (80%) (14 June) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

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