Policy Issues

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  • Image previewNovember 26From Crude to Shale: What’s Next for the American Oil Industry

    When the BW Zambesi oil tanker departed from Galveston, Texas on July 30, 2014, it marked a historic turning point for the American oil industry, signifying a new era in U.S. energy relations with the rest of the world.  Loaded with 400,000 barrels of American crude oil, the tanker destined for South Korea represented “the first unrestricted export of American oil to a country outside of North America in nearly four decades.”[1]

  • Image previewNovember 25Positive Q3 GDP Surprise

    Third Quarter GDP Revised Up to 3.9%; FDA Unveils New Rules; Home Prices Up Slightly in September

  • Image previewNovember 25Fair Housing and the Disparate Impact Theory

    The federal government maintains a policy of providing “for fair housing throughout the United States.”[1] In 1968, the U.S. Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act, a civil rights law that established this policy, as well as specific provisions to enable its enforcement.[2] The law prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, as well as the financing of housing, because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.[3] Over the last forty years, federal courts refined the law’s meaning, clarifying or construing its ambiguities. In the 1970s, debate centered on whether the law barred facially neutral practices or policies—that is, actions that proceeded without intent to discriminate—that disproportionately impact individuals belonging to one of the law’s protected classes. After eleven of twelve federal circuits held that the law supported a disparate impact theory, this interpretation has again in recent years come under fire. The current debate highlights contemporary tensions between the federal government’s civil rights priorities and the practices of private lenders, insurers, and housing providers.

  • Image previewNovember 21Fed Responds to “Lax Oversight” Accusations; President Unveils Deferred Deportation Plan

    Fed to Review Banking Oversight Policies; President Unveils Plan to Defer Deportation of 3.7M Undocumented Immigrants; PBOC Cuts Benchmark Rate for First Time in Two Years

  • Image previewNovember 20Leapfrog or Backfire? Wharton Economist on the Rebound Effect in Developing Economies

    Today, considerable debate is dedicated to the idea that developing countries will “leapfrog” to more efficient technologies that didn’t exist when rich countries were at similar stages of development. The magnitude of leapfrogging, energy experts argue, has important implications for future energy consumption and the climate. While some suggest that considerable leapfrogging will enable lower energy consumption in places like China, an analysis from Arthur Van Benthem of The Wharton School found that developing countries actually exhibit more energy-intensive growth than developed countries did at the same GDP levels. More income for energy-intensive products and outsourcing are two possible explanations for why this occurred.

  • Image previewNovember 10With court’s approval, Detroit emerges from bankruptcy

    Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last week, but set little legal precedent in the process, says Faculty Affiliate Olivia Mitchell. What happened however, is likely to stick around for a while, and the impact of procedings will be significant.

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