Policy Issues


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  • Image previewSeptember 23Treasury Fights Inversions with New Rules

    Treasury Fights Inversions with New Rules; Housing Prices; PMI Manufacturing

  • Image previewSeptember 112014 Public Policy Case Competition

    The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative is pleased to sponsor its Second Annual Public Policy Case Competition. This competition, open to all undergraduate and graduate students across the University of Pennsylvania, is intended to foster discussion and collaborative research on key public policy issues. One team will win the grand prize of $5000.  Two teams will earn honorable mention awards of $1500 each.

    Students are highly encouraged to attend The Attainment Agenda: State Policy Leadership in Higher Education, an event co-sponsored by Penn Wharton PPI, the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, and the Institute for Research on Higher Education, on September 17, at 4:30 PM. This roundtable discussion about higher education finance will provide research relevant to the Case Competition prompt.

  • DC Events

    Image preview Oct9 Health Reform in 2015: What the Research Tells Us 8:00am - 1:15pm
    Location: Willard Hotel, Washington DC

    The health system is changing rapidly with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. With an eye on what to expect in 2015 – particularly related to the health insurance marketplace and provider consolidation – Penn is bringing together government, academic, and industry experts to meet in Washington to explore practical implications of recent research findings and identify the knowledge gaps.

    Breakfast and lunch will be served

  • Meet a Student

    Kate Samuelson

    As someone who is very interested in community revitalization and economic mobility work, Kate says that it has been “fascinating to experience interagency collaboration in practice and to learn about the partnership structure needed to truly transform high-poverty communities.”

    Rising sophomore Kate Samuelson of Houston, Texas did not let her freshman status define her freshman year. From the Civic House PennCORP pre-orientation program last fall to her current public policy internship in Washington, D.C., Kate has made the most of her first year at Penn, joining several campus groups, starting one of her own, and enjoying life as a new Quaker and Philadelphian.

    Kate SamuelsonRecruited to Penn by the Kelly Writers House, Kate arrived on campus early last fall for PennCORP, a pre-orientation program offered by Civic House through which incoming freshmen do service work in West Philadelphia and gain “historical, social and political perspectives on the community.” She serves as advocacy liaison for the Civic House Associates Coalition, where she supports Penn service and advocacy organizations, and is part of the Civic Scholars program, which provides undergraduates with “a sustained four-year experience in civic engagement and scholarship.” Civic Scholars attend proseminars on civic engagement as underclassmen and complete a capstone service project – “an in-depth research experience focusing on a social issue of interest to the scholar which results in public, social, or organizational policy recommendations” – during junior and senior year. Kate plans to focus her capstone project on the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.

    Throughout her freshman year, Kate joined and took on leadership roles in several campus groups, including Penn Women’s Political League, where she’ll continue her term as vice president in the fall, and the Secretariat Board of the International Affairs Association. She also works as a research assistant at the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice and will serve on the board for Penn Hillel’s Reform Jewish Community. But perhaps most important of all, Kate created the Penn Childhood Cancer Coalition, a community service and advocacy group that aims to raise awareness of childhood cancer, serve the needs of children undergoing treatment in Philadelphia, and advocate for national legislation to improve the lives of children with cancer. Kate is very passionate about this issue, having started Rainbows and Roses, a nonprofit organization benefiting pediatric cancer patients and their families in Texas, when she was 12 years old. This summer, she has served as co-chair of the marketing committee for CureFest D.C., an event taking place September 21st on the National Mall that will unite over 1,000 individuals – including government officials and childhood cancer researchers, advocates, patients, survivors, and relatives – as one voice against childhood cancer.

    Kate plans to major in political science and is pursuing minors in international development and journalistic writing. She’s able to explore her interests in politics and urban affairs both through her ABCS (academically-based community service) courses and through her current internship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which she discovered through the Penn Wharton PPI Job Board. At HUD, she works on the interagency Promise Zones Initiative, a part of President Obama’s plan to create a better bargain for the middle-class. As Kate reported, the initiative designates a number of high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities as Promise Zones, where the federal government will partner with and invest in communities to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and improve public safety.

    West Philadelphia is home to one of the first five Promise Zones, which has, among other goals, prioritized reducing crime and increasing educational opportunity. Working at the HUD headquarters in D.C., Kate helps to implement the initiative at the federal level, working with the first five Promise Zone designees and many of the initiative’s stakeholders. Since the Promise Zones Initiative is at a relatively early stage of implementation, there have been many exciting developments, including proposed legislation for a Promise Zones tax credit. As someone who is very interested in community revitalization and economic mobility work, Kate says that it has been “fascinating to experience interagency collaboration in practice and to learn about the partnership structure needed to truly transform high-poverty communities.” She plans to volunteer her service for efforts in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, coordinated by the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO).

    After such an eventful first year, Kate believes that the sky is the limit as far as what she can accomplish at Penn. Whether law school, an MPA program, or something else entirely is on the horizon after graduation, Kate is committed to the initiatives she has worked on or started. When asked what advice she would give to incoming freshman, Kate offered, “I’d encourage them to find what they are passionate about and just run with it. Pursue leadership opportunities early on and don’t be discouraged because you’re a freshman.” She certainly was not.

    *Penn Wharton PPI is pleased to be funding Kate’s internship experience at HUD this summer.


  • Image previewAugust 25The Danger of Crowding Out the Crowd in Equity Crowdfunding

    With regard to equity crowdfunding, too many policymakers and regulators are focusing their attention on the “funding” piece of crowdfunding, overlooking the fact that the true revolutionary power of crowdfunding lies instead in the crowd.

  • Meet a Student

    Isidoro Tapia

    This project in Angola represents what Isidoro likes best about his work at MIGA: it exists at the intersection of the public and private sectors.

    Isidoro Tapia, a rising second year MBA, has spent the last few years navigating the intersection of the private sector and public policy.

    Hailing from a small beachside town in southern Spain, Isidoro went to university and worked his early professional years in Madrid, graduating with degrees in law and economics from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. His first job after university was with a private firm that specialized in researching Latin American countries for Spanish companies. After about four years, he was tapped by one of his professors, then the Secretary of Energy in Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism, and Trade, to become one of his advisers. “This was a transformational time for Spain. It was actively attracting investment for energy projects,” Isidoro said.

    Two years later, Isidoro moved within the Ministry of Energy and became the Secretary General of IDAE, the Institute of Energy Diversification and Saving. Satisfying a role often filled by venture capitalists in the U.S., IDAE received business plans from entrepreneurs and then judged those opportunities on financial viability and social impact. During Isidoro’s time at IDAE, the Institute made strategic investments in a variety of sustainable energy areas, from wind farms to car sharing programs. The financial crisis eventually began to take a toll on the government’s ability to prioritize these energy sector developments, but Isidoro experienced firsthand the power that the public sector had to make significant, beneficial change for his country.

    Knowing that he wanted to “use his skills to improve government” but “wanting to do something a little different,” Isidoro came to Wharton. He is enjoying this experience of meeting new people with different backgrounds and is pushing himself to develop new areas of expertise. He cites Professor Karl Ulrich’s course on Innovation as particularly challenging and rewarding this past academic year. He’s also in the Wharton Tennis Club, Whalasa, and Kids Club.

    This summer, Isidoro has an exciting internship in the Operations Department of MIGA.* The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, is an international financial institution which offers political and credit risk insurance guarantees to private institutions that support development efforts around the world. MIGA’s mission is “to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries to help support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives.” Isidoro is on the Energy, Oil, Gas, and Mining team working on a project with a European bank to increase energy output in the country of Angola. MIGA is providing credit risk insurance to the bank, which is, in turn, funding the government of Angola’s development of a power plant that will effectively double the amount of energy produced in the country.

    This project in Angola represents what Isidoro likes best about his work at MIGA: it exists at the intersection of the public and private sectors. The agency has a direct hand in public management and helps to provide huge benefits for millions of people - but without all of the bureaucracy.  And Isidoro knows well the magnitude of such a project. Deals like these between large international banks and emerging economies signal to the world (when both implementation and the repayment of loans go smoothly) a more advanced and developed financial system ripe for investment.

    Isidoro’s experience at MIGA thus far has been exactly what he was hoping to find during his MBA career. Only time will tell what he will do after graduation, but certainly, his research and investment background in both the public and private sectors will ensure many more positive impacts around the world for years to come.

    *Penn Wharton PPI is pleased to be funding Isidoro’s internship experience at MIGA this summer.


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