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B School for Public Policy Monthly 90-minute sessions on Capitol Hill »

Policy Issues


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  • Events

    Call for registration for 5th Annual Public Policy Case Competition Feb25  5th Annual Case Competition Registration 11:59pm
    Location: Register Online
    We are pleased to announce the 5th Annual Public Policy Case Competition. This competition, open to all undergraduate and graduate students across the University, is intended to foster discussion and collaborative research on key public policy issues. 

    One team will win the grand prize of $5,000.  Two teams will earn honorable mention awards of $2,000 each.

    Teams must pre-register online to participate by 11:59 PM, Sunday, February 25. 

  • President Trump on Thursday signaled a dramatic shift on gun control after he held an emotional listening sessio... February 22 Trump Addresses Gun Control, Pushes for Background Checks

    Trump signals a shift on gun control; U.S. jobless claims near 45-year low as economic outlook brightens; Leading indicators beat expectations and post third straight month of gains in January.

  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Olivia S. Mitchell February 21 What Makes 401(k) Loans Risky?

    Congress has decreed that people should have more time to pay back their 401(k) loans if they lose or leave their jobs. That extension isn’t enough to make 401(k) loans safe, though. You’re still risking your retirement security every time you take money out of your plan.

    About 40% of 401(k) savers borrow from their plans in a given five-year period, and 90% of the loans are paid back, according to Faculty Affiliate Olivia S. Mitchell.

    She is concerned that the longer grace period could lure more people into a false sense of security, leading to more loans - and more defaults. Making loans more attractive “is not the approach you want if your primary goal is retirement security,” Mitchell says.

  • Penn Wharton PPI Faculty Affiliate, Professor Mark V. Pauly February 21 How Trump’s behind-the-scenes cuts to Medicare spending will hurt health care

    Faculty Affiliates Mark V. Pauly and Kevin Volpp write about Trump’s detrimental impact on Medicare in their Op-Ed for Marketplace. 

    “President Trump has proposed some modest steps to slow the apparently inexorable growth in Medicare entitlement spending, breaking with his campaign promise to leave alone government-funded programs for seniors.

    Although there is often little correlation between presidential budget proposals and budgets eventually approved by Congress, the administration’s budget, which calls for reducing Medicare spending by about $270 billion over 10 years, may start the conversation about what to do to slow growth in Medicare spending.

    While cuts in provider payments in some areas will be significant, the administration has left alone the harder questions of whether we can afford to provide generous Medicare benefits to all seniors and to continue to make coverage decisions largely without considering cost.”

  • Faculty Affiliate Ioana Marinescu. February 20 Why Is It So Hard for Americans to Get a Decent Raise?

    A lack of competition among employers gives businesses outsize power over workers, including the ability to tamp down on pay.

    In a new paper by Faculty Affiliate Ioana Marinescu, she argues that, across different cities and different fields, hiring is concentrated among a relatively small number of businesses, which may have given managers the ability to keep wages lower than if there were more companies vying for talent.

    This could have important implications for how we think about antitrust, unions, and the minimum wage.

  • Faculty Affiliate Professor Peter Cappelli.  February 20 HR Is Not Your Friend. Here’s Why.

    As Microsoft undergoes an ongoing gender discrimination lawsuit, Faculty Affiliate Peter Cappelli explains why HR and employee issues may conflict. 

    Sexual harassment cases can be especially tricky, as HR is responsible for investigating a behavior whose legal definition often doesn’t match its conventional one. “Part of the problem is what many people believe counts as sexual harassment is not the legal definition of sexual harassment,” says Cappelli, director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. A YouGov poll in November found that 17% of Americans ages 18–29 felt that a man asking a woman out for a drink could be an instance of sexual harassment. Legal precedent, meanwhile, tends to define sexual harassment as occurring either when a supervisor requests sex in exchange for a subordinate being promoted or not being fired, or when an employee is subject to behavior of a sexual nature that’s so pervasive it creates a hostile work environment.