This assignment asks you to use the knowledge you’ve gained from this course to perform a microeconomics
analysis of a public policy issue, and provide your policy position regarding this issue using economic
reasoning and evidence.
(1) Identify a current federal, state, or local public policy issue that: (a) interests you, (b) allows you to apply
microeconomic reasoning, and (c) has not been thoroughly covered within our class. (You may write about an issue that has been discussed in class if you address the issue in greater depth or in a new direction.)
(2) Research your issue to familiarize yourself with the major policy and microeconomic arguments that relate to
your issue.
(3) Apply at least one microeconomic concept studied in our class such as incentives, marginal thinking and
sunk costs, opportunity cost, elasticity, competition, externalities, public or common property goods, efficiency,
poverty and/or equity, etc., to develop a policy position regarding your issue.
(4) Identify your target audience and advocate for your position.
What to Submit:
The product of this assignment is an original one (or at most two) page (less than 500 words, excluding references – Policy memos must be short or they won’t be read by busy politicians or voters!) persuasive public policy memo
or editorial. The memo or editorial should be addressed to a specific real-world audience (e.g. a particular
politician, newspaper, etc.). It should be written carefully and include a statement of the policy issue,
your microeconomic argument (in language appropriate for your audience), and evidence to support your
recommendation (e.g., a statistical finding that supports your proposal, a quote from a prominent economist, or other evidence). Appropriately cite at least one source other than the Openstax and Economics for Life books on a separate page below your memo.
Grading:
Your grade will be based primarily on the accuracy and quality of your economic argument and the persuasiveness of your memo or editorial.
Example Public Policy Topics:
Traffic Control, Gas or Other Product Taxes, Education Reform, Crime Deterrence, Pollution Control, Poverty and Inequality, Price Control Policies, Monopoly Regulation, Safety Regulation, Drug Policy, Health Care Reform,
Social Security Reform, Farm Subsidies, Protection of Species, Funding for a Public Good, etc.