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PUBLPOL 19Q: Measuring the Performance of Governments in the U.S. (ECON 19Q)

Spending by federal, state, and local governments accounts for about one-third of U.S. GDP and governments employ more than one-in-seven workers in the U.S. For most U.S. residents, government is represented by a complicated web of federal, state, and local policies. There is an increasingly contentious debate about the proper role of the government and regarding the impact of specific government policies. This debate is rarely grounded in a common set of facts. In this seminar, we will explore how each level of government interacts with U.S. residents through government services, public programs, taxes, and regulations. We will examine financial results for different levels of government while considering the net effects of government intervention on the health and economic well-being of individuals and families. Particular attention will be paid to certain sectors (e.g. education, health care, etc.) and to certain groups (e.g. those in poverty, the elderly, etc.). Along the way we will accumulate a set of metrics to assess the performance of each level of government while highlighting the formidable challenges of such an exercise. Prerequisite: Econ 1.
Last offered: Autumn 2017 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 51: Microeconomics for Policy (INTLPOL 204A, PUBLPOL 301A)

Microeconomic concepts relevant to decision making. Topics include: competitive market clearing, price discrimination; general equilibrium; risk aversion and sharing, capital market theory, Nash equilibrium; welfare analysis; public choice; externalities and public goods; hidden information and market signaling; moral hazard and incentives; auction theory; game theory; oligopoly; reputation and credibility. Undergraduate Public Policy students may take PublPol 51 as a substitute for the Econ 51 major requirement. Economics majors still need to take Econ 51. Prerequisites: ECON 50 and MATH 51 or equiv.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
Instructors: Bulow, J. (PI)

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: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
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.
Last offered: Autumn 2016 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 101: Introduction to American Politics and Policy: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (AMSTUD 123X, POLISCI 102, PUBLPOL 201)

This is a course about American politics, which means this is a course about individuals, identities, and institutions. How do Americans come to think andnreason about politics? What is the role that identities play in affecting the political judgments that individuals make? How do our political institutionsnrespond to the demands of a diverse public that disagrees about issues related to race and justice, income and wealth inequality, climate change, gunncontrol, reproductive rights, the power of the executive, and the role that government ought to play in the lives of the governed? And how do we makensense of this seemingly peculiar contemporary moment in American politics? These are not easy questions, but they are ones for which political sciencenprovides a useful foundation to guide our inquiry. The objective of this course is to introduce students to various concepts and theoretical frameworks thatnhelp us understand the messiness and complexity of American politics. In addition to classroom lectures and discussion sections, students will benrequired to apply concepts and theoretical frameworks to contemporary issues in American politics. Undergraduate Public Policy students are required to enroll in this class for 5 units.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-SI

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

Terms: Win, Spr | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SI
Instructors: Chee, C. (PI)

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

This course explores the role of law in promoting social well-being (happiness). Law, among its other functions, can serve as a mechanism to harmonize private incentives with cooperative gains, to support 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. Specific topics include welfare economics, torts, property, contracts, regulation, process and antitrust. Requires a term paper applying economic analysis to a case, procedure, or law. Prerequisite: ECON 50.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
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).
Last offered: Spring 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI

PUBLPOL 113: America: Unequal (CSRE 3P, SOC 3)

It was never imagined "when the U.S. was founded" that the rich would be so rich and the poor so poor. It was never imagined "when the U.S. was founded" that opportunities to get ahead would depend so profoundly on one's family circumstances and other starting conditions. How could this have happened in the "land of opportunity?" What are the effects of such profound inequality? And what, if anything, should be done about it?
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Grusky, D. (PI)

PUBLPOL 118X: Shaping the Future of the Bay Area (CEE 118X, CEE 218X, ESS 118X, ESS 218X, GEOLSCI 118X, GEOLSCI 218X, GEOPHYS 118X, GEOPHYS 218X, POLISCI 224X)

The complex urban problems affecting quality of life in the Bay Area, from housing affordability and transportation congestion to economic vitality and social justice, are already perceived by many to be intractable, and will likely be exacerbated by climate change and other emerging environmental and technological forces. Changing urban systems to improve the equity, resilience and sustainability of communities will require new collaborative methods of assessment, goal setting, and problem solving across governments, markets, and communities. It will also require academic institutions to develop new models of co-production of knowledge across research, education, and practice. This XYZ course series is designed to immerse students in co-production for social change. The course sequence covers scientific research and ethical reasoning, skillsets in data-driven and qualitative analysis, and practical experience working with local partners on urban challenges that can empower students to more »
The complex urban problems affecting quality of life in the Bay Area, from housing affordability and transportation congestion to economic vitality and social justice, are already perceived by many to be intractable, and will likely be exacerbated by climate change and other emerging environmental and technological forces. Changing urban systems to improve the equity, resilience and sustainability of communities will require new collaborative methods of assessment, goal setting, and problem solving across governments, markets, and communities. It will also require academic institutions to develop new models of co-production of knowledge across research, education, and practice. This XYZ course series is designed to immerse students in co-production for social change. The course sequence covers scientific research and ethical reasoning, skillsets in data-driven and qualitative analysis, and practical experience working with local partners on urban challenges that can empower students to drive responsible systems change in their future careers. The Autumn (X) course is specifically focused on concepts and skills, and completion is a prerequisite for participation in the Winter (Y) and/or Spring (Z) practicum quarters, which engage teams in real-world projects with Bay Area local governments or community groups. X is composed of four modules: (A) participation in two weekly classes which prominently feature experts in research and practice related to urban systems; (B) reading and writing assignments designed to deepen thinking on class topics; (C) fundamental data analysis skills, particularly focused on Excel and ArcGIS, taught in lab sessions through basic exercises; (D) advanced data analysis skills, particularly focused on geocomputation in R, taught through longer and more intensive assignments. X can be taken for 3 units (ABC), 4 units (ACD), or 5 units (ABCD). Open to undergraduate and graduate students in any major. For more information, visit http://bay.stanford.edu.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
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