B School for Public Policy

Better-informed policymaking through a deeper understanding of economics.

Attend monthly, 90-minute classroom-style sessions on Capitol Hill. Perfect for policy professionals, each “master class” covers a different issue in business and economics. Learn in an intimate and interactive experience taught by faculty from Penn and Wharton — one of the world’s leading institutions for business education.

Featured Content:

How Should Autonomous Vehicles Redistribute the Risks of the Road?

The introduction of autonomous vehicles onto American roadways presents not only great technological challenges, but ethical ones too. This brief considers the principles that should govern how companies that produce autonomous vehicles should program them to behave in hybrid conditions, when autonomous vehicles and vehicles controlled by human drivers share the road and potentially come into conflict. Research shows that consumers would prefer to purchase autonomous vehicles that are programmed to prioritize the safety of their occupants. But doing so means that in hybrid conditions, occupants of human-driven vehicles would systematically suffer more harms. This disparity should be of great concern, as it is likely that there will be a correlation between autonomous vehicle usage and wealth, since the large R&D costs that go into the making of autonomous vehicles will probably make them a luxury item, at least early on. The Issue Brief therefore proposes a Fair Risk Distribution principle to govern the programming of autonomous vehicles, and lays out the moral obligations of all manufacturers to not be the first to offer vehicles programmed to systematically prioritize the interests of their occupants.

Inequality in the Gig Economy

Gig economy jobs have soared in recent years, but as the consumer receives a quick service or a same-day delivery product, what are the workers getting? When this type of work, including ride-hailing services and ice cream delivery came along, some thought women would benefit greatly. But data shows that this hasn’t occurred yet, as inequality is a growing component of the global workforce. There has been an “Uberization” of what the gig economy is today, and those jobs are mainly done by men which has left the discussion about women in this sector primarily on the side.

Consumer Beliefs about Data Surveillance, and What They Mean for Privacy Policy

Industry actors often claim that Americans are quite willing to countenance robust amounts of tracking, storage, and profiling of their personal data, as a “tradeoff” for the benefits they enjoy in accessing certain websites and platforms. Research, however, tells a more complicated story, and indicates that most Americans still don’t understand how their data is being collected and used, or what online privacy policies actually promise. Professor Turow, a leading expert on online marketing and consumer privacy issues, will discuss this research in greater depth, and discuss its implications for what the government might do to better address the concerns consumers have about protecting their personal data.