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Policy Issues


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  • Image previewFebruary 11More Accountability For Science Research Grants and North Korean Weapons Program Participants

    The House voted along party lines to require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to issue public announcements for all grant awards with explanations of the projects’ merits to improve accountability among researchers; The Senate voted to impose new sanctions on companies and individuals involved with North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and cyber warfare operations; Initial unemployment claims dropped a steep 16,000 in the week ended February 6th, a weekly decline of 4.3%. 

  • Image previewFebruary 10The FDA and the Regulation of Medical Device Innovation: A Problem of Information, Risk, and Access

    Are FDA premarket trials on new drugs and medical devices excessive and do they inhibit consumer access to new and much-needed technologies? Or may they actually be insufficient and expose consumers to too much risk? To address this question, the new research described here compares the regulatory approaches of the U.S. and the European Union for second and third generation coronary stents. The research supports the FDA’s argument that reductions in their standards for device approval would reduce consumer welfare. Nevertheless, the research also suggests that in some circumstances, FDA reform proposals advocating for more relaxed premarket requirements but enhanced post-market surveillance would yield considerable welfare gains. 

  • Image previewFebruary 8Too Many Choices Could Be Bad For Your 401K

    In investing, choice usually is a good thing. But new research suggests that having too many choices in a 401(k) retirement plan could be costly for participants. “Too many choices may create confusion, resulting in poorly informed consumer decisions,” says the report by Faculty Affiliate Olivia S. Mitchell. 

  • Image previewFebruary 7Making Clean Energy Affordable By Making Coal More Costly

    The U.S. government’s move this month to halt issuance of new coal mining leases on public lands as it reviews the federal coal program will eventually help make clean energy more cost-competitive. “From a climate policy perspective, the objective is to better approximate the external cost of coal production,” says Faculty Affiliate Eric W. Orts on the change in policy. 

  • Image previewFebruary 2Funding for Summer Internships

    Looking for funding for your summer internship? Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI) offers funding, on a competitive basis, to students who accept an offer for a public policy summer internship at a government entity or non-profit policy research organization in Washington, DC, that otherwise would be unpaid or come only with modest compensation. All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any of Penn’s schools are eligible to apply for funding from Penn Wharton PPI.


  • Sean Egan

    “I have gained an understanding of how the research process works. I have also learned to think of monetary policy as far reaching and much more complex than most of the public believes.”

    Sean Egan is currently a sophomore in Wharton and has plans to pursue Business Economics and Public Policy—fields that he believes have the most potential for helping American citizens.

    As someone whose definition of success means having a positive impact on the people around him, Sean has been using his free time to work towards charitable goals since high school. He helped found “Hearing Our Heroes,” a student-led organization whose mission is to “assist local veterans, thank them for their service, and in doing so remind our members and others how much our brave veterans sacrificed to protect the blessings of liberty.” While he has more of an advisory role now that he’s in college, Sean nevertheless is planning on Hearing Our Heroes events for the Philadelphia area.

    In his time at Penn, Sean maintains his goals of going into public policy by engaging in policy-related activities on campus. He is an active member of College Republicans and also a “Fiscal and Monetary Policy” contributor for Wonk Tank. Recently, he has also been assisting in research for Professor Peter Conti-Brown.

    “[After working with Professor Conti-Brown], I have gained an understanding of how the research process works,” said Sean. “I have also learned to think of monetary policy as far reaching and much more complex than most of the public believes.”

    While Sean originally had ambitions to work in communications within the White House, his recent experiences at Penn has led him to consider focusing on economic policy implementation or research instead. “The real goal is to make an impact on an administration that I believe can help our country,” he explained.

    In terms of public figures he respects, Sean mentioned Speaker Paul Ryan and Congressman Vito Fossella. He explained how he admired that Speaker Ryan understood the importance “to have beliefs and stand by them, but at the end of the day compromise is necessary and ultimately good.” Sean also praised Congressman Vito for embracing essential values as a public official.

    “I first understood what it meant to be an elected official [from Congressman Vito],” said Sean. “I saw the value he put on getting to know his constituents and their needs, and to never forget that you work for the people. An elected official is supposed to serve others, not themselves.” 


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