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 Regulators Can Help Smooth the Credit Cycle

As economists discuss the possibility of another recession, it is useful to keep in mind that certain alternative private funds that invest in debt or credit have the potential to play an important role in promoting financial stability by supplying the economy with a countercyclical source of credit. Despite the benefits to economic resilience, however, the development of a robust market for nonbank credit has generated concern among some financial stability watchdogs, reflecting long-standing distrust about the shadow banking sector. This brief outlines the rationale for why regulators and legislators should be thinking of ways to allow more—not less—investment to flow into the private credit/debt market, to mitigate future economic downturns. In particular, the brief argues that certain private credit/debt fund investments should be made accessible to retail investors, and recommends possible avenues the SEC could pursue—i.e., amending the definition of an accredited investor and expanding exemptions under Regulation D—to enable that to happen. In addition to fostering a countercyclical source of credit, such a deployment of the SEC’s rulemaking power also stands to have the ancillary benefit of promoting broader financial inclusion.

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.