Econsocpolsyll - SOC POL 330: ECONOMICS OF SOCIAL...

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Unformatted text preview: SOC POL 330: ECONOMICS OF SOCIAL POLICY Fall 2011 Class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 ­10:20 AM, Annenberg 303 Professor: Diane Schanzenbach Office: Annenberg 205 Phone: 847 ­491 ­3884 E ­mail: Office hours: Thursdays 10:30 ­12:00 or by appointment Teaching assistant: Christina LiCalsi Labelle Office: 2046 Sheridan Rd., 2nd Floor Phone: 773 ­203 ­3170 Email: Office hours: Thursdays 10:30 ­12:00 or by appointment Welcome to this class! The purpose of the course is to think about social policy issues through an economic lens. We will explore the basic economic foundations of individual decision ­making and discuss the ways in which economists hypothesize that individuals respond to the incentives embedded within social policies. We will pay particular attention to the nature and detail of existing social policy, and use economic analysis to predict how these policies might influence behavior. We will also explore some of the relevant empirical literature on a set of policy topics. I hope that by the end of the course you will understand the theoretical frameworks and some of the empirical tools that economists bring to their analyses of public policy issues. You need not be convinced that these frameworks are the best approach to analyzing policies, but you should understand them sufficiently to be able to analyze a policy issue in the way that an economist would. Course requirements will include two problem sets, a midterm exam, one short paper and a term paper. For the short paper, I will assign a particular policy ­related question and ask you to evaluate it using the materials learned in class in the form of a 5 ­page essay. For the term paper (no more than 12 double ­spaced pages), I would like you to propose a policy to address a social problem of your choosing. Your paper should detail the problem you are concerned with and provide justification, based on theoretical and empirical economic analysis, regarding why your solution will be effective at solving that problem. More information will be provided regarding these assignments later in the quarter. Your course grade will be determined as follows: • Problem sets (20%) • Midterm (25%) • Short paper (20%) • Term paper (35%) Required text: Gruber, Jonathan Public Finance and Public Policy (Worth Publishers) ISBN ­13: 978 ­1 ­4292 ­1949 ­5 There is also a course pack available at Quartet Copies (825 Clark Street in Evanston) with the articles we will be reading (mostly) during the second half of the course. COURSE SCHEDULE 1. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 Introduction to class, overview 2. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 Labor supply (Gruber 2.1 ­2.2) 3. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 Reading empirical work & stats review 4. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Empirical approaches: the logic of experiments (Gruber chapter 3) 5. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4 Food stamps and kinked budget constraints Problem set 1 distributed 6. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6 Labor supply, Welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit “Behavioral Responses to Taxes: Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply,” Nada Eissa and Hilary Hoynes, Tax Policy and the Economy 7. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11 Social welfare (Gruber 2.3 & 2.4) “How Progressive is the U.S. Federal Tax System? A Historical and International Perspective,” Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, Journal of Economic Perspectives Problem set 1 due, Problem set 2 distributed 8. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13 Market failures: externalities (Gruber chapter 5) “Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone’s Kids,” Scott Carrell and Mark Hoekstra, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 9. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 Sin taxes: smoking and soda (Gruber chapter 6) “The Economics of Tobacco Regulation,” Jonathan Gruber, Health Affairs. Problem set 2 due 10. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20 Understanding the Federal budget: Debts & Deficits (Gruber chapter 4) “Activist Fiscal Policy,” Alan Auerbach, William Gale and Benjamin Harris, Journal of Economic Perspectives. 11. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 MIDTERM EXAM IN CLASS 12. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27 Cost ­benefit analysis (Gruber chapter 8) “The Benefits and Costs of Head Start,” Jens Ludwig and Deborah Phillips, NBER Working paper 12973 Short paper assignment distributed 13. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 Social insurance (Gruber 12.1 ­12.4) “Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations,” by Hilary Hoynes, Marianne Page & Ann Huff Stevens, Journal of Economic Perspectives. 14. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Moral hazard (Gruber 12.5) “HIV Breakthroughs and Risky Sexual Behavior,” Neraaj Sood and Dana Goldman, Quarterly Journal of Economics 15. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 Social Security (Gruber chapter 13) “Saving Social Security” by Peter Diamond and Peter Orszag, Journal of Economic Perspectives. Short paper due 16. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10 Unemployment Insurance and Disability Insurance (Gruber chapter 14) “Unemployment Insurance: Strengthening the Relationship between Theory and Policy” by Walter Nicholson and Karen Needels, Journal of Economic Perspectives Optional: “The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding” by David Autor and Mark Duggan, Journal of Economic Perspectives 17. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Health insurance (Gruber chapter 15) “Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment,” Willard Manning, Joseph Newhouse, Naihua Duan, Emmett Keeler, Arleen Leibowitz, and Susan Marquis, American Economic Review 18. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 Medicare & Medicaid (Gruber chapter 16) “Medicare Reform: Fundamental Problems, Incremental Steps,” Mark McClellan, Journal of Economic Perspectives “Walking the Tightrope on Medicare Reform,” David Cutler, Journal of Economic Perspectives Final paper proposal due 19. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22 Health care reform “Health Reform: Getting the Essentials Right,” Victor Fuchs, Health Affairs. “Is American Health Care Uniquely Inefficient?” Alan Garber and Jonathan Skinner, Journal of Economic Perspectives “Why Health Reform Will Bend the Cost Curve,” David Cutler, Karen Davis and Kristof Stremikis, The Commonwealth Fund 20. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24 Thanksgiving recess, no class 21. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29 Cash welfare & welfare reform (Gruber chapter 17) “Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States,” Rebecca Blank, Journal of Economic Literature 22. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1 The economics of marriage ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/13/2011 for the course ECON 330 taught by Professor Dianeschazenbach during the Fall '11 term at Northwestern.

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