Course code BUS360

BUS360 Taxes, Inequality, and Sustainability I

English course information

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Viser emneinfo for studieåret 2020 - 2021.

Emneansvarlige: Annette Alstadsæter
Studiepoeng: 5
Ansvarlig fakultet: Handelshøyskolen
Frekvens: Annually. First time January 2020.
Undervises på språk: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Begrensning antall plasser:
Undervises i periode:
This course has teaching/evaluation in January block.
Første gang: Studieår 2019-2020
Fortrinnsrett: Priority for M-ØA og M-ECON students. Other masterstudents can sign up for the course if available capacity."First come, first served".
Undervises hvor?: Campus Ås
Emnets innhold:

Dette kurset blir kun gitt på engelsk, og da finnes kursbeskrivelsen også kun på engelsk. 

Taxes and inequality is central to society and public policy. This course serves as an introduction to these matters. It bridges macro and micro related topics, with emphasis on understanding the basic structure of the tax system, how taxes affect behaviour, and how this again is related to inequality and sustainability.

Teaching is research based but policy relevant, both bringing the research frontier into the lecture hall and drawing on current newspaper articles and policy debates. The goal is for the students to get an understanding of the most important and up-to-date research and discussions on taxation and inequality, and to learn how to process, apply and communicate policy relevant research.

As a part of this, the course provides the students with policy relevant writing practice. The home assignment consists of writing an op-ed article based on a research paper, with trainingin how to read a research paper and how to write an op-ed covered in lectures and seminars. In the spring of 2020, two of the top op-eds was translated into Norwegian and published in the business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. These were «Bernie bør se til Trump» and «Dagens skattekonkurranse tar fra de fattige og gir til de rike».

«BUS360 – Taxes, Inequality and Sustainability I» will take you through the basic concepts and definitions within tax and inequality. In the companion course «BUS361 – Taxes, Inequality and Sustainability II», we use these insights to learn how taxes affect firms` investment and profit shifting decisions.



After completed course, the student should have knowledge on the topics covered by the course:

  • How to write an op-ed and how to cite
  • When should the government intervene in the economy?
  • Inequality - definitions, trends, and measurement challenges
  • Redistribution and the equity-efficiency trade-off
  • Behavioural responses to taxes: Real, avoidance, and evasion.
  • Challenges to taxing capital in a globalized world
  • Tax havens and individuals` offshore wealth


After completed course, the student should be able to:

  • Have a basic understanding in how to reference work in an academic setting, how to cite without conducting plagiarism, and how to write an op-ed
  • Give an account of basic terminology of taxes, inequality, and sustainability
  • Describe under which conditions the government should intervene in the economy
  • Describe different inequality measures, and give an account for trends in inequality across time and countries as well as measurements challenges
  • Explain the tension between efficiency and redistribution - how political instability may arise if the losers from globalization, sectoral growth and restructuring are not compensated by the winners.
  • Describe the basic structure of the Norwegian tax system and relate it to other countries
  • Give an account of various behavioral responses to taxes
  • Describe the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance, as well as give examples of both
  • Give an account of challenges to taxing individual income and wealth in a globalized world
  • Give an account of individuals` use of tax havens and how it affects tax revenue and inequality

General competence

After completed course, the student

  • Masters basic tax and inequality terminology
  • Is able to reflect on the interaction between taxes, inequality, and sustainability
  • Has a basic understanding of the Norwegian tax system and its challenges in a global economy
  • Is trained in reading and processing an academic research paper
  • Can participate in the public debate by writing a research based op-ed article
Combination of pre-recorded and streamed lectures. See Canvas for details.
Various course material on the class page on Canvas.

The course curriculum will be specified on the course page on Canvas and consists of research papers from the research frontier, reports, and newspaper articles, and builds partly on research by Skatteforsk - Center for tax and behavioral research at NMBU:

You may sign up for e-mail updates with relevant tax news here:

Forutsatte forkunnskaper:
Bachelor degree or equivalent
Anbefalte forkunnskaper:

40% of the grade: Term paper: A - E / Ikke bestått 

60% of the grade: Electronic home exam, 1 hour: A - E / Ikke bestått 

The term paper can be written in Norwegian or English. If the term-paper is not passed, the course has to be taken again. If the exam is not passed, the course has to be taken again; you will not be able to carry forward a term paper grade to the next year. No continuation exam will be arranged in this course.

The term paper consists in writing an op-ed article as part of a group, in Norwegian or English, intended for a major newspaper, based on a research paper on the reading list, and putting the results into a current context, with the possibility to be published on Students will be assigned to term paper groups by the course responsible, and is strongly encouraged to attend the digital/physical seminars offered to present the group’s draft op-ed and discuss with guidance of seminar leaders, prior to handing it in. See Canvas for more details on the seminars.

Two of the term papers from January 2020 were ultimately published as op-eds in Norway’s main business newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv:

External examiner will control the quality of syllabus, questions for the final examination, and principles for the assessment of the examination answers.
The course is in English. Incoming students on master level can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course. 
Normert arbeidsmengde:
150 timer
The course is open for master students at NMBU and other Norwegian universities.
- Approx. 15 hours of lectures + seminars during the course of three weeks. 
Eksamensdetaljer: :