Fall 2016 - 60900 - PA393L - Advanced Policy Economics

Political Economy of American Poverty

The purpose of Advanced Policy Economics is to apply economic analysis to a particular policy area. This section focuses on poverty issues in the United States. Specifically, the course covers (a) neoclassical and institutional approaches for understanding poverty, (b) technical issues in measuring poverty and analyzing related data, and (c) U.S. social policy strategies dealing with poverty and associated problems. 

This section is both an analytic course that applies microeconomics logic and econometric modeling to policy analysis, and a survey course on anti-poverty policy in this country. 

Proficiency in both microeconomics and econometrics is essential. These prerequisites can be fulfilled by successfully completing AMP and IEM with good conceptual understanding of OLS logic. Prior background or at least concurrent registration of econometrics at the AEM level is recommended.

This section of APE is designed for students desiring quantitative-analytic careers in social policy. Students with different professional plans may want to consider the same instructor’s Policy Development course on The American Welfare State. That course covers the same policy contents, but from a political-institutional rather than economic-analytic angle. Enrollment in both courses is not permitted.


The final grade for the course will be based on the following assessments: 

Project 0: Background Exercise  0% 

Project 1: Evaluation Exercise  10% 

Project 2: History Exercise*  10% 

Project 3: Analytic Exercise  10% 

Project 4: Integrative Exercise  10% 

Project 5: Policy Paper*  20% 

Project 6: Teaching Session  10% 

Perspectives on current affairs  10% 

Class participation & progress  20% 

Reading Materials

Reflecting the emphasis on individualized research in this course, assigned preparatory readings have been kept to a minimum. In particular, for most sessions of the course, preparatory readings consist of two to three articles or book chapters. Preparatory readings are available on Canvas and constitute the minimum reading expectation before each weekly session.