Public Policy Issue or Problem Research

Public Policy Issue or Problem Research Choose a specific public policy issue/problem related to the local, regional, or federal government that interests you and research it.

Public Policy Issue or Problem Research

For example, within the larger debate on education reform in the U.S., you might ask whether school choice could improve the quality of public schools in Rhode Island. You are free to choose a topic that we will not cover in class (but be sure to read the relevant chapter in Gruber for some theoretical grounding on the issue).
You must refer to at least 6-8 journal articles on your chosen topic in lieu of reviewing the literature on the issue. In addition, you must also refer to think tank reports and discussion papers, current working papers, book chapters, newspaper/magazine articles (sparingly), other relevant internet sources (such as blogs, again sparingly) etc. in your research.

Public Policy Issue or Problem Research and Literature Review

You may use some statistical data in your paper. Data requirements are discussed in greater detail in section IV.
Discuss the policies that have been/are being implemented at the relevant level to address the issue.
Do you believe that the current policies are effective? Why or why not? The discussion should clearly relate to the relevant economic theories covered in class.
The paper is essentially a review of the existing literature on your topic. Nest discussions within findings from the literature.
Could any other policy (policies) be adopted to effectively address the particular problem you are analyzing? Include a detailed explanation of how the policy might address the economic challenges that are of importance to your topic.
State the specific topic you are interested in analyzing in the form of a research question.

Public Policy Issue or Problem Research Brief Background

Briefly discuss why the issue merits discussion
Provide a brief background including current policies in place (or the status quo) on your issue.
Identify and discuss findings from key literature sources you will be using to write the paper; that is, cite only the main article(s) written on your topic from academic journals, reports and discussion papers from major ‘think-tanks’ that motivated your topic choice. You may also include newspaper and magazine articles written on your topic at this stage. Be sure to identify at least 4-5 sources at this stage (not necessarily all journal articles). The list of references is of course expected to grow as you work towards the final paper!
Briefly discuss what else you propose to address in the final paper, including whether or not you agree with the current policy choice(s). This stage of the paper also provides an opportunity for you to start considering your policy recommendations, to be discussed in detail in the final paper.
The proposal should be divided into separate sections including a proper working title, introduction and conclusion (similar to a journal paper) and be typed.
Your list of references is expected to expand after the first stage. Be sure to document all literature and data sources in a separate bibliography section in the proposal.

Public Policy Issue or Problem Research and Discussion Paper

You may use some data to support your discussion in the final paper. Data could be used to construct both statistical and/or graphical illustrations to aid the analysis. Statistical illustrations could include calculating arithmetic averages, histograms, correlations, and graphically illustrating time trends, distribution of program benefits and costs, scatter plots etc.
In addition, it is also acceptable to cite statistics, tables, and graphs from other sources as long as sources are acknowledged.
Own tables & graphs should be electronically generated from your data. For example, graphs may be generated using the Excel Chart Wizard, have clearly labeled axes and must carry a title. Hand-drawn tables and graphs are unacceptable (including in the proposal if you choose to include any such illustration at that stage).
The paper, including topic choice and proposal, should be typed using 1.5 line spacing, and the pages should be numbered.
Font size for the body of the paper – 10/11/12 depending on font choice
Font type – Arial, Calibri, Cambria, or Times New Roman, are recommended.

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