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:

State Foreclosure Law: A Neglected Element of the Housing Finance Debate

Proponents of robust mortgage finance regulation would do well to look to the states, and specifically to the regulatory effects of state-mandated judicial foreclosure. Judicial foreclosure, which is authorized in almost half of U.S. states, requires that lenders seeking to foreclose on a mortgage file an action in state court. This not only provides borrowers with a forum for holding lenders accountable for their behavior and obligations, but puts the onus on the lender to show that the requirements for foreclosure have been met. It also aids borrowers by delaying the foreclosure process and allowing them to remain in their homes for longer periods while in default. In this brief, Professor Brian Feinstein empirically examines the effects of judicial foreclosure on lender behavior and mortgage costs for consumers. The findings indicate that judicial foreclosure alters lender behavior in ways that are beneficial to borrowers, and that mirror regulatory goals. Lenders exhibit greater caution in loan-approval decisions and offer fewer subprime loans. These results are amplified for lower-income borrowers. Importantly, the costs imposed on lenders by judicial foreclosure do not appear to get passed on to borrowers in the form of higher rates.

The Economics of Universal Basic Income

The Alaska Permanent Fund has been issuing a cash transfer to every man, woman and child in Alaska since the early 1980s. The fund is provided through dividends invested from oil revenues, which is obviously a big part of that state. But can a similar Universal Basic Income program work across all of the US? And would providing such a program mean any change to working patterns in the United States?

The Economics of Minimum Wage Regulations

Rising concern over income inequality has yielded an upswing in support for modifying minimum wage laws. As of October 2018, ten large U.S. cities and seven states had passed laws to increase the minimum wage, typically to between $12-$15/hr, and ballot measures in the 2018 midterm elections added Missouri and Arkansas to that list. But the actual effects of minimum wages on employment, technological change, and inequality remain contested. This seminar by Professor Jesús Fernández-Villaverde will examine what the research suggests about the economic effects of minimum wage regulations, while also discussing other possible policy levers for achieving the economic goals that minimum wages are meant to target.