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Thomas Luke Spreen

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Luke Spreen is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. His research falls under two broad themes. First, whether oversight of public or nonprofit entities leads to improvements in their financial outcomes. Second, whether financial incentives, particularly when implemented through taxes, alter the behavior of economic agents.

His prior research is published in the American Review of Public Administration, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory¸ Journal of Public Economics, National Tax Journal, and other outlets. He earned his Ph.D. from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington and was an economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics prior to his academic career.

Areas of Interest
  • State and local taxation; financial management; program evaluation
3 Credit(s)

Applied course in public finance, including introductions to resource mobilization (including taxation), macroeconomic policy, key public expenditure policies, and government budgetary processes and politics. The course will build on the foundations from ECON 200 to address the specific application of public finance principles to solving public problems. The course will focus on the principles of welfare economics (including market failure), economic principles as applied to particular spending programs and tax choices, and issues and institutions involved in the allocation and management of resources both at a national and subnational level. The focus of the course is on these issues from both a domestic and global perspective. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to apply the tools of economics to inform societal and governmental choices, and understand how those choices are made in practice. 
Schedule of Classes

Prerequisite(s): ECON200

3 Credit(s)

Covers how governments raise, spend, borrow, invest, and transfer public funds. It reviews federal, state, and local budget processes and introduces analytical techniques including basic spreadsheet skills, evaluating alternative revenue sources, revenue and expenditure forecasting, cost allocation, break-even analysis, capital budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, choice over time (discounting, net present value, future value, internal rate of return), bond pricing, investment strategy, and cash management.
Schedule of Classes

3 Credit(s)

Covers how governments raise, spend, borrow, and manage public funds. Reviews federal,state, and local budget processes and introduces analytical techniques including basic spreadsheet skills, evaluating alternative revenue sources, revenue and expenditure forecasting, cost allocation, capital budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, discounting and present value, bond analysis, cash management and intergovernmental finance.

Schedule of Classes

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