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:

Updating the Crowdfunding Narrative

Policymakers concerned about stimulating small business and entrepreneurial growth need to better understand the dynamics of crowdfunding as a vehicle for that growth. The conventional wisdom is that raising cash through crowdfunding always benefits entrepreneurs. But that is not the complete picture. In reality, there are ways in which entrepreneurs, as well as VCs looking for new investments, may actually be left worse off after a successful crowdfunding campaign. This issue brief examines the potential pitfalls of a successful campaign. These include a moral hazard problem that comes into play when entrepreneurs explore both crowdfunding and venture capital investment, which can lead to a breakdown in negotiations between entrepreneurs and VCs, leaving the VC without a potentially lucrative project and the entrepreneur without the VC’s essential financial support, expertise, and guidance. While the brief focuses on reward-based crowdfunding platforms, the pitfalls described herein likely apply as well to peer-to-peer lending, real estate, and equity-crowdfunding platforms too.

Antitrust in Labor Markets: How it Relates to Big Tech

Big U.S. tech companies like Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, and others, are coming under fire for being monopolies that should be broken up. This is what we have been hearing from Democratic Presidential candidates like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. It is an idea that is gaining steam as these tech giants face accusations of violating privacy rights, squeezing out competitors, and spreading misinformation. A new 150-page report commissioned by the British government includes many of those similar criticisms and say the existing rules governing these companies are outdated and need to be strengthened. And the European Union has repeatedly fined big tech companies. So is it time for the U.S. to look at whether the tech industry is too big and make some changes?

Inequality in the Gig Economy - Who is left out of the “Future of Work”?

Companies like Uber have garnered a lot of attention for their disruptive technology, but other gig economy companies, like those offering care and domestic cleaning services, have mostly stayed under the radar. This seminar will interrogate these gaps in attention, exploring historical changes in how different types of labor are valued, especially that of women and people of color, and the role of technology in shaping these changes. Professor Julia Ticona, Ph.D., will present new research that examines the similarities and differences in the ways technology is deployed to manage workers in different sectors of the gig economy, and the ways this shapes workers’ experiences.