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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.
Last offered: Autumn 2014 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

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

(Formerly PS 2) 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

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. Open to Public Policy students and non-Public Policy students with instructor consent. Public Policy students must take the course for a letter grade.
Terms: Win, Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SI

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

This course explores the role of law in promoting economic welfare. Law has many meanings and many aspects, but some version of it is essential to cooperative human interaction and thus to civilization itself. Cooperation often is a positive-sum or welfare-enhancing activity, while competition among individuals, in contrast, is often zero- or negative-sum. Law, among its other functions, can serve as a mechanism to harmonize private incentives to achieve cooperative gains, to maintain an equitable division of those gains, and to deter "cheating." Economic analysis of law focuses on the welfare-enhancing incentive effects of law and law enforcement and on law's role in reducing the risks of cooperation by setting expectations of "what courts or the state will do" in various contingencies. Prerequisite: Econ 50. Undergraduate Public Policy students are required to take this class for a letter grade and enroll in this class for five units.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

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 statical analyses and current policy debates in the U.S. and around the world. Policy topics: Fiscal crises, budget surpluses/deficits; 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, ECON 52 (can be taken concurrently).
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
Instructors: Boskin, M. (PI)

PUBLPOL 121L: Racial-Ethnic Politics in US (AMSTUD 121L, 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. Stats 60 or Econ 1 is strongly recommended.
Last offered: Autumn 2013 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-ED, WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 124: What's Wrong with American Government? An Institutional Approach (POLISCI 120C)

How politicians, once elected, work together to govern America. The roles of the President, Congress, and Courts in making and enforcing laws. Focus is on the impact of constitutional rules on the incentives of each branch, and on how they influence law. Fulfills the Writing in the Major Requirement for Political Science majors.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 137: Innovations in Microcredit and Development Finance (URBANST 137)

The role of innovative financial institutions in supporting economic development, the alleviation of rural and urban poverty, and gender equity. Analysis of the strengths and limits of commercial banks, public development banks, credit unions, and microcredit organizations both in the U.S. and internationally. Readings include academic journal articles, formal case studies, evaluations, and annual reports. Priority to students who have taken any portion of the social innovation series: URBANST 131, 132, or 133. Recommended: ECON 1A or 1B.
Last offered: Spring 2015 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 154: Politics and Policy in California

State politics and policy making, including the roles of the legislature, legislative leadership, governor, special interests, campaign finance, advocacy groups, ballot initiatives, state and federal laws, media, and research organizations. Case studies involving budgets, education, pensions, health care, political reform, environmental reforms, water, transportation and more. Evaluation of political actions, both inside and outside of government, that can affect California policy and social outcomes. Meetings with elected officials, policymakers, and advocates in class and during a day-long field trip to Sacramento.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 156: Health Care Policy and Reform

Focuses on healthcare policy at the national, state, and local levels. Includes sessions on international models, health insurance, the evolution of healthcare policy in the U.S., key U.S. healthcare topics (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, public employee retiree health care), the role of technology, reform proposals (single payer, national health care, consumer-based systems, regulated markets, state and local reform efforts), efficiency/cost drivers and prospects for future policy. The course includes sessions on effective memo writing and presentation of policy proposals.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
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