Fiscal Reform and Development

Subject LAWS70162 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
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: None
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 and critique 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 to 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.

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

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. This subject examines how governments and citizens can raise revenue to fund poverty relief, redistribution and development goals. The subject considers 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 and focuses 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, international 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 challenges 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: Sustainability, efficiency, fairness, administrability
  • 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.
Learning Outcomes:

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%)
  • Short written assignment (10%) (20%) (18 August)
  • Take-home examination (80%) (19 – 22 September)
  • 8,000 word research paper (80%) (29 October) 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. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the 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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