To serve as a hub for public policy research and education that bridges the intellectual divide between business and government.
Currently, the US government is confronting a host of major public policy issues that carry long-ranging implications for the vitality of the American economy and, by consequence, the well-being of the American people. From health care reform, to tax regulations, to funding for higher education and social insurance programs, to the exploration of alternative energy resources — to name just a few key areas — the stakes are high and the issues complex. Seemingly as never before, our government leaders need access to clear, data-driven knowledge to help clarify the policy options before them.
The Wharton Public Policy Initiative aims to fill this information gap by delivering independent, practical, timely, and nonpartisan policy briefs— authored and reviewed by our own Faculty Affiliates — to government decision-makers and their staffers, tackling policy questions of economic importance arising in DC.
Given the range of issues affecting our economy today, our research agenda is similarly broad, covering 11 research areas:
- Energy and the Environment
- Health Care
- Housing and Urban Development
- Risk Management
- Social Insurance
- Tax and the Federal Budget
- Technology and Communications
- Trade and Emerging Markets
The generation of trustworthy knowledge, however, is just the start; to maximize the impact of that knowledge, our satellite office in DC acts to ensure that the research coming out of Wharton PPI finds its intended audience within the public policy arena.
Fostering better-informed policymaking isn’t just about knowledge, though. It’s about people—and in particular, inspiring more of our brightest and most highly motivated students to leverage their talents in the public sector. On Penn’s campus, therefore, we’re creating new academic and co-curricular opportunities for students to explore and understand the impact of public policy on business and the economy. We bring policymakers such as former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and current CBO Director Doug Elmendorf to the University for speaking engagements. We develop and provide funding for summer internships in DC, as well as research assistantships on campus. We facilitate workshops to help students hone the quantitative skills necessary for policy research. We sponsor coffee chats and small group dinners that connect students with faculty and with each other, to discuss and debate current policy topics. And every year, the roster of offerings continues to grow.
Altogether, Wharton PPI’s activities foster a public policy “community of interest” at the University while building vital new bridges between academia, business, and government.