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PUBLPOL 55N: Public Policy and Personal Finance (ECON 25N)

The seminar will provide an introduction and discussion of the impact of public policy on personal finance. Voters regularly rate the economy as one of the most important factors shaping their political views and most of those opinions are focused on their individual bottom lines. In this course we will discuss the rationale for different public policies and how they affect personal financial situations. We will explore personal finance issues such as taxes, loans, charity, insurance, and pensions. Using the context of (hypothetical) personal finance positions, we will discuss the public policy implications of various proposals and how they affect different groups of people, for example: the implications of differential tax rates for different types of income, the promotion of home ownership in the U.S., and policies to care for our aging population. While economic policy will be the focus of much of the course, we will also examine some of the implications of social policies on personal finance as well. There will be weekly readings and several short policy-related writing assignments.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Rosston, G. (PI)

PUBLPOL 78N: Economic Policies of the Presidential Candidates (ECON 78N)

In nearly all polls, American voters rank the economy as one of their most important concerns. In the presidential election, much of the debate for voters will be on questions of economic policy. In this course, we will delve deeply into economic policy issues to understand options for government intervention and possible outcomes. We will combine economic analysis with political science methodology to understand efficient and implementable policy proposals.nnSpecific areas of interest will be taxation, budget, entitlement programs, economic regulation and competition policy, trade, demography, income inequality, and monetary policy. The course will incorporate other timely and salient policy issues as they arise during the course of the campaign. n nStudents will be expected to write a short paper and make an oral presentation to the class. A wide range of topics will be acceptable, including those directly related to campaign issues as well as other long-term economic issues facing the country.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PUBLPOL 101: Politics and Public Policy (AMSTUD 123X, POLISCI 102, PUBLPOL 201)

American political institutions (the Presidency, Congress, and the Court) and political processes (the formation of political attitudes and voting) have for some time now been criticized as inadequate to the task of making modern public policy. Against the backdrop of American culture and political history we examine how public policy has been and is being made. We use theories from Political Science and Economics to assess the state of the American system and the policy making process. We use case studies and lectures to analyze contemporary issues including environmental policy, taxes and spending , gun control , economic growth and inequality and mobility. In some of these issue areas we use comparative data from other countries to see how the U.S. is doing relative to other countries. In addition to class room lecture and discussion, student groups are formed to analyze policy issues of relevance to them. Undergraduate Public Policy students are required to enroll in this class for five units.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PUBLPOL 105: Empirical Methods in Public Policy (PUBLPOL 205)

Methods of empirical analysis and applications in public policy. Emphasis on causal inference and program evaluation. Public policy applications include health, education, and labor. Assignments include hands-on data analysis, evaluation of existing literature, and a final research project. Objective is to obtain tools to 1) critically evaluate evidence used to make policy decisions and 2) perform empirical analysis to answer questions in public policy. Prerequisite: ECON 102B. Enrollment is limited to Public Policy students. Public Policy students must take the course for a letter grade.
Terms: Win, Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Chee, C. (PI)

PUBLPOL 106: Law and Economics (ECON 154, PUBLPOL 206)

This course explores the role of law in promoting well-being (happiness). Law, among its other functions, can serve as a mechanism to harmonize private incentives with cooperative gains, to maintain an equitable division of those gains, and to deter "cheating" and dystopia. Law is thus essential to civilization. Economic analysis of law focuses on the welfare-enhancing incentive effects of law and its enforcement and on law's role in reducing the risks of cooperation, achieved by fixing expectations of what courts or the state will do in various futures. Prerequisite: ECON 51 or PUBLPOL 51.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Owen, B. (PI)

PUBLPOL 107: Public Finance and Fiscal Policy (ECON 141)

What role should and does government play in the economy? What are the effects of government spending, borrowing, and taxation on efficiency, equity and economic stability and growth? The course covers economic, historical and statistical analyses and current policy debates in the U.S. and around the world. Policy topics: Fiscal crises, budget deficits, the national debt and intergenerational equity; tax systems and tax reform; social security and healthcare programs and reforms; transfers to the poor; public goods and externalities; fiscal federalism; public investment and cost-benefit analysis; and the political economy of government decision-making. Prerequisites: ECON 51 (Public Policy majors may take PUBLPOL 51 as a substitute for ECON 51), ECON 52 (can be taken concurrently).
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Boskin, M. (PI)

PUBLPOL 121L: Racial-Ethnic Politics in US (CSRE 121L, POLISCI 121L)

This course examines various issues surrounding the role of race and ethnicity in the American political system. Specifically, this course will evaluate the development of racial group solidarity and the influence of race on public opinion, political behavior, the media, and in the criminal justice system. We will also examine the politics surrounding the Multiracial Movement and the development of racial identity and political attitudes in the 21st century. PoliSci 150A, Stats 60 or Econ 1 is strongly recommended.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-ED, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PUBLPOL 122: Biosecurity and Bioterrorism Response (BIOE 122, EMED 122, EMED 222, PUBLPOL 222)

Overview of the most pressing biosecurity issues facing the world today. Guest lecturers have included former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Special Assistant on BioSecurity to Presidents Clinton and Bush Jr. Dr. Ken Bernard, Chief Medical Officer of the Homeland Security Department Dr. Alex Garza, eminent scientists, innovators and physicians in the field, and leaders of relevant technology companies. How well the US and global healthcare systems are prepared to withstand a pandemic or a bioterrorism attack, how the medical/healthcare field, government, and the technology sectors are involved in biosecurity and pandemic or bioterrorism response and how they interface, the rise of synthetic biology with its promises and threats, global bio-surveillance, making the medical diagnosis, isolation, containment, hospital surge capacity, stockpiling and distribution of countermeasures, food and agriculture biosecurity, new promising technologies for detection of bio-threats and countermeasures. Open to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students. No prior background in biology necessary. 4 units for twice weekly attendance (Mon. and Wed.); additional 1 unit for writing a research paper for 5 units total maximum.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER: DB-NatSci, GER:EC-GlobalCom, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Trounce, M. (PI)

PUBLPOL 124: American Political Institutions in Uncertain Times (POLISCI 120C)

This course examines how the rules that govern elections and the policy process determine political outcomes. It explores the historical forces that have shaped American political institutions, contemporary challenges to governing, and prospects for change. Topics covered include partisan polarization and legislative gridlock, the politicization of the courts, electoral institutions and voting rights, the expansion of presidential power, campaign finance and lobbying, representational biases among elected officials, and the role of political institutions in maintaining the rule of law. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on the strategic interactions between Congress, the presidency, and the courts and the importance of informal norms and political culture.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Bonica, A. (PI)

PUBLPOL 133: Political Power in American Cities (AMSTUD 121Z, POLISCI 121, URBANST 111)

The major actors, institutions, processes, and policies of sub-state government in the U.S., emphasizing city general-purpose governments through a comparative examination of historical and contemporary politics. Issues related to federalism, representation, voting, race, poverty, housing, and finances.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Nall, C. (PI)
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