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Harvard. Graduate Public Finance Final Exam. Bullock, 1914-15



Charles Jesse Bullock taught public finance and the history of economics at Harvard during the first third of the twentieth century. This posting contains the course announcement, enrollment figures, and the final examination questions for his graduate course in public finance from 1914-15. The information come from three different sources, all of which are available on-line. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting corresponding material from the twenty economics courses offered during the 1914-15 year for which the final examination questions had been printed and subsequently published.


Course Announcement

Economics 31. Public Finance. Mon., Wed., and (at the pleasure of the instructor) Fri., at 10. Professor Bullock.

The course is devoted to the examination of the financial institutions of the principal modern countries, in the light of both theory and history. One or more reports calling for independent investigation will ordinarily be required. Special emphasis will be placed upon questions of American finance. Ability to read French or German is presupposed. [p. 70]

Source: Division of History, Government, and Economics 1914-15. Official Register of Harvard University, Vol. XI, No. 1, Part 14 (May 19, 1914).


Course Enrollment

[Economics] 31. Professor Bullock.—Public Finance.

Total 17: 16 Graduates, 1 Other.

Source: Report of the President of Harvard College, 1914-15, p. 60.


Final Exam (2nd term)


  1. What sources of revenue has the Kingdom of Prussia? Discuss their comparative importance.
  2. How is land taxed in Great Britain, France, and Prussia? In your answer refer to all taxes directly affecting land.
  3. What would be the economic and financial effects of levying a tax on land that absorbed all speculative gains?
  4. Discuss critically the more important proposals made since 1870 for the reform of state and local taxation in the United States.
  5. How, according to Adam Smith, ought public charges to be distributed?
  6. Write a brief history of customs and excise taxation in Great Britain.
  7. What indirect taxes are now employed by France or the German Empire?
  8. Under what circumstances and for what purposes should a municipality resort to loans?


Source: Harvard University Examinations. Papers Set for Final Examinations in History, History of Science, Government, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Ethics, Education, Fine Arts, Music in Harvard College. June 1915, pp. 57-58.

Image Source:  Charles Jesse Bullock in Harvard Class Album, 1915.

Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier