Political science: Public Policy

 1. Consider the question “do gasoline taxes in the usual proposed range (20-30 cents per gallon) reduce overall gasoline consumption (assuming a constant relationship between gasoline consumption and green house gas emissions)?” Your job is now to assess if this has worked in places that have tried this. You will use the methods of the first half of the course. You are free to use some imagination, but try to think of a plausible situation that might have occurred. Your design will probably be quasi-experimental rather than experimental. Lay out your design and then discuss strengths and weaknesses. Use the jargon from the first half of the course. About a page.

2. We have spent a bunch of time discussing dealing with climate change via regulation (eg CAFE standards) and market mechanisms (carbon tax). For this question you can ignore cap and trade since we spent about a minute on it – if you want to include, feel free, and I have attached a good reading y Robert Stavins on this. In your discussion please refer to the economics readings from last week (BCE ch 2-4), attached. The Mankiw reading discusses Pigou taxes. In about a page, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these two general types of approaches. Your answer should be in clear English that your English major roommate can understand. About a page.

3. We have also spent a bit of time discussing the role of the discount rate. Again, for your English major roommate, what is the discount rate debate and why is it so critical in determining how we make climate change policy. In particular, put this in the context of the Varian op-ed (NY Times) that is attached (recalculating the costs of global climate change)and a piece in Science Magazine (2014-Pizer) and an RFF blog post.. Also please look at ECE – ch 10 which I gave you for las week and which I attach here.

4. We have also discussed insurance and climate change (particularly Weitzman and the dismal theorem). Once again, for your English major roommate, explain this issue and the consequences for climate change policy. About a page. Again, the Weitizman reading (edited) is attached. 5. We have discussed the “social cost of carbon” (the externalities of burning carbon). In about a page, and again writing for your English major roommate, explain how we might go about doing this calculation, brining in the various features discussed in class. Many of the readings attached for the last two weeks and re-attached here are relevant., particularly Mankiw, the RFF blog post and the Science Magazine piece. Ex #6: 1. Playing with the Chetty data – College Use the NY Times website for this https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/05/03/upshot/the-best-and-worst-places-to-grow-uphow-your-area-compares.html The data are organized by county. Take the country where you grew up (if you grew up in the US) or otherwise a county you think you know something about. Now compare that county to about 10 other nearby counties, of which at least some have different mobility rates. a. Start with all kids coming from the (bottom) 25th income percentile (poor but not starving). Can you think of some characteristics of the counties (just based on what you know) that lead to some of the 10 counties having more mobility for poor people than other counties. (About half a page) b. Do the same thing for all kids coming from he top 25th percentile (what is labelled 75th in the graphic). How do the results compare to those for the poor kids from part a? (Another half a page)