Economic Analysis of Major Policy Issues
This course will introduce students to the economic analysis of public policy issues. The interface between public policy and business is broad. Effective business leadership often requires the ability to analyze and/or direct public policy. Economic analysis provides a powerful tool for analyzing public policy from both a positive (i.e. predictive) and normative (i.e. evaluative) perspective. Economic theory provides a framework for: (1) understanding and predicting the incentives of businesses, consumers and government officials, (2) formulating reasonable policy objectives and methods for achieving these objectives, and (3) quantifying the likely effects of policy choices. The basic premise of the course is that a sound understanding of a relatively small number of fundamental economic principles and methods can be of tremendous value in making sound judgments on policy issues. The first three weeks of the course will cover the fundamental principles that guide the analysis. The next five weeks will use these concepts to analyze major public policy issues that are important to business such as: (a) the public and private sector responses to environmental problems, (b) the provision of health care, (c) antitrust enforcement, (d) intellectual property rights, (e) energy supply, (f) discrimination and anti-discrimination regulations, and (g) deregulation of industries. The final 3 weeks will be used for the presentation and analysis of class projects.
Gary S. Becker and Guity N. Becker, The Economics of Life,