Get Involved

Whether you attend a Wharton B-School for Public Policy seminar in-person, or you want access to the faculty expertise outside of the classroom, there are many ways to engage.

Faculty Meetings

If you are interested in speaking directly with one of the faculty experts, please contact Andrew Coopersmith, Managing Director of Wharton PPI, to check on the professor’s availability.

Summaries

  • Professor Arthur van Benthem teaching

    Designing Successful Carbon Markets

    Professor Arthur van BenthemMay 10
    There are several market-based approaches that might be employed to control pollution and promote energy and environmental policy goals. This session by Professor Arthur van Benthem  examined the economic challenges and merits of those approaches, with a particular emphasis on the design of cap-and-trade schemes.Arthur van Benthem|left
    View summary »

    There are a lot of developments happening right now in carbon markets in different parts of the world—from New Zealand to Canada and many points in between. As policymakers continue to explore cap-and-trade in the United States, there is much to learn about what does and doesn’t work from these carbon markets already in place.

  • James G. Dinan University Professor Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics Professor of Law

    Antitrust in Labor Markets

    Professor Herbert HovenkampNovember 16, 2018
    Today, the share of economic output that goes to workers in the form of wages or salaries, is historically low. A number of factors may contribute to this: labor-reducing machine production; anti-union policies; innovation and high fixed costs; refusals of minimum wage laws to keep up; but also anticompetitive practices. This talk, by Professor Herbert Hovenkamp , addressed whether and what antitrust policy might be able to do about this problem. Unreasonably low wages in relation to output are not in and of themselves an antitrust problem. However, antitrust policy is properly concerned with anticompetitive conduct that serves to suppress wages or salaries. The talk focused on a variety of these practices – namely, “anti-poaching” agreements; mergers that enable wage suppression; employee non-compete agreements covering various categories of employees; and overly restrictive occupational licensing requirements.anti-trust|herbert hovenkamp|labor
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    Today, unlike in years past, labor is much more likely to be viewed as the victim and not the perpetrator of an antitrust violation, and there is increasing recognition that firm behavior can negatively affect wages, restrict worker mobility, and otherwise harm the interests of workers. Pretty much all the labor-related antitrust litigation of the last 20 years has involved problematic agreements or arrangements among employers, from which labor deserves protection. 

  • William Stewart Woodside Professor Professor of Marketing

    Improving Economic Prosperity through Nation Branding

    Professor David ReibsteinOctober 19, 2018
    It is well known that companies care deeply about their brands—and with good reason: a respected name attracts customers, solidifies their loyalty, and brings in higher returns. The idea of brand identity extends beyond the corporate world, though. Countries are also brands, and a country’s brand, like a corporate brand, is economically powerful. A positive country brand brings money and economic growth to it through tourism, foreign direct investment, and foreign trade; conversely, a negative country brand is economically costly. In this seminar, Professor David Reibstein from the Wharton School, who collaborates with U.S. News & World Report in developing the Best Countries Rankings, examined nation branding as it applies to the U.S., and presented information on why a country should care about their brand globally and the role that public policy plays in shaping and communicating that brand to the world.behavioral economics|David Reibstein|right
    View summary » It is generally considered good business practice for a company to invest in its brand. A positive brand image typically results in a more loyal customer base and an overall increase in profit. Likewise, nations have brands, and the reputation of a country has an economic impact on its gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Assistant Professor Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research

    Universal Basic Income

    Professor Ioana MarinescuSeptember 14, 2018
    The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has generated a lot of conversation this year. The conversation in the U.S. often has focused on whether a UBI program here would be politically palatable and feasible. Its economic implications, however, are not always well understood. This seminar by Professor Ioana Marinescu presented new research on UBI-style programs, such as the Alaska Permanent Fund, to discuss their effects, especially with regard to labor markets.Ioana Marinescu|labor|right
    View summary » Concern over massive structural unemployment, due to technological automation and globalization, is on the rise. Universal Basic Income (UBI) has attracted attention from both sides of the aisle as one potential solution to a scenario where a large number of people are not able to earn a livable wage. In order to understand the economic implications of UBI, economists have studied previous and current examples of UBI-type programs, analyzing their impact on consumption, labor force participation, education, health, and other key metrics.
  • Assistant Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics

    Policy Disruption: Regulatory Responses to Business and Technological Innovation

    Professor Sarah LightJune 15, 2018
    New forms of business in the sharing economy, and new technologies like autonomous vehicles, have the potential to “disrupt” existing regulatory structures. This seminar examined the challenges facing regulators and legislators, who must respond so as to both (a) promote innovation and (b) protect the public interest.innovation|left|regulation|Sarah Light
    View summary »

    Disruptive innovation has a technical meaning to business scholars. It signifies when a new firm picks off customers from an existing business, by coming up with a new product or service that is actually slightly inferior to the product or service offered by the existing firm. For instance, Airbnb offers up rooms in people’s homes in place of a traditional hotel room. Some (but not all!) disruptive innovations lead to what might be called policy disruption, in that they in some way challenge the current regulatory regime. 1

  • Joao Gomes, Howard Butcher III Professor of Finance

    The Decline in U.S. Corporate Investment

    Professor Joao GomesJune 1, 2018
    10 years after the financial crisis US corporate investment remains anemic. Is this weak recovery a symptom of a larger trend towards a less capital intensive economy? The answer can shed light on the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 as well as any future infrastructure spending.infrastructure|Joao F. Gomes|left|tax
    View summary » U.S. corporations over the past decade have shied away from making large-scale capital investments. Given their reticence, does it make economic sense for the government to pursue major investments in infrastructure at this time?

B-School Podcasts

  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Nation Branding: Which Countries Ranked Highest This Year?

    Every year, US News and World Report compiles a list of the best countries, the list looks at a country’s wealth and success, but also policies that create opportunity, the people that lead the change, and that country’s history. The 2019 list was just released. Wharton Marketing professor Dave Reibstein is the researcher who compiles the rankings. He recently presented his findings on the relationship between nation branding and economic prosperity with staffers in DC. Here is an interview with Dan Loney from Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio about his findings.
  • Regulatory Responses to the Sharing Economy, Autonomous Vehicles, and Disruptive Innovation

    Technology-based companies such as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted more than just their business sectors. They’ve raised complicated questions about how they should be regulated and by whom. New research from Wharton could help decision-makers sort out the answers. Professor Light joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to explain.
  • 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 Decline of US Corporate Investment

    Certainly, the onset of the 2008 Recession hurt many aspects of the US economy. One area of impact was on corporate investment. It sank significantly, and even though it has been increasing in recent years, it hasn’t increased fast enough to catch up with projections of where that investment should have been if you take the Recession out of play. Joao Gomes joined Dan Loney in the Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio studio to discuss his B-School seminar on the topic of the Decline of US Corporate Investment.
  • The Role of Government in Fixing America’s Aging Infrastructure

    Infrastructure is one of the key issues on the American political agenda. How to finance and manage the rebuilding of America’s aging infrastructure was the topic of a B-School for public policy seminar. Professor Bob Inman provided an overview of the economic and political factors that influence the financing and management aspects as well as provided an analytical framework, highlighting the way in which economists, with their focus on efficiency, differ from engineers in analyzing infrastructure investments. To share his insights with a wider audience, Professor Inman joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show, which airs on SiriusXM Channel 111, to discuss what it would take to finance improvements, and the role government should play.
  • Collecting State & Local Data for Informed Social Policy Making

    Dennis Culhane, Professor at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, joins host Dan Loney to discuss his recent B-School Seminar presented to congressional staffers that focuses on helping staffers better understand how state and local evidence is gathered, which ultimately serves as a basis for forming federal social policy regulations. Dennis is also the Co-Principal Investigator for the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy, and Director of Research, National Center for Homelessness Among Veterans.
  • Achieving Regulatory Excellence

    Much attention has been given to Donald Trump’s call for deregulation, a priority based on the notion that regulation impedes business growth. According to data from the Penn Wharton B-School for Public Policy seminar “Achieving Regulatory Excellence” by Professor Cary Coglianese, the number of cumulative pages in the code of Federal regulations has more than doubled from 75,000 to over 180,000 between 1975 and 2016. But regulatory excellence is more complicated than the raw number of regulations and needs to incorporate not only concern for the success of businesses, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the protection of citizens. Cary Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Political Science and Director of the Penn Program on Regulation has researched and written extensively on “Achieving Regulatory Excellence”. He joins Dan Loney, host of Knowledge@Wharton Radio to discuss the topic.
  • Regulating Robo-Advisors, Wharton Business Radio Interview

    With big data and automation becoming more common, so too has the “robo advisor”, any automated service that ranks or matches consumers to financial products on a personalized basis. Tom Baker, Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, joins host Dan Loney of Knowledge@Wharton to discuss his recent B-School for Public Policy seminar about research he’s been doing on the regulation of robo-advisors, particularly within the financial services industry.
  • Taxation, Competitiveness, and Corporate Inversions - An interview with tax experts

    A wave of corporate inversions over the past several years has generated substantial debate in academic, business, and policy circles. The core of the debate hinges on a couple of key economic questions: Do US tax laws disadvantage US-domiciled companies relative to their foreign competitors? And, if so, does inversion reduce or eliminate that tax disadvantage, and increase the competitiveness of US multinational firms for making investments both abroad and at home? In a B-School for Public Policy seminar, Professor Michael Knoll addressed these questions and their implications for tax reform discussions, drawing insight from newly published research. He joined Lori McMillan, law professor at Washburn University in Kansas, and Daniel Hemel, assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago, in the Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio studio for an interview with host Dan Loney.
  • Insuring High Risks Fairly, Protecting Individuals Against Flood Losses

    As Congress looks at restructuring the National Flood Insurance Program — legislators must address the issue of fairness. Howard Kunreuther, Professor of Decision Sciences and Business Economics and Public Policy at the Wharton School, joins host Dan Loney on Knowledge@Wharton to discuss this important and timely topic.
  • US Workforce Development and Employer Tax Incentive Plans

    There has been much talk recently about a skills gap in the United States. Even though unemployment is in the low 4% territory, there are still many jobs that companies seemingly can’t fill because the people applying for them may not have the skills necessary. But it raises an interesting question: Who is actually responsible for taking care of that gap? Peter Cappelli, Director of the Center for Human Resources and Professor of Management at the Wharton School and Host of In the Workplace, joins host Dan Loney on Knowledge@Wharton.

  • Can Blockchain Truly Work? The Question May Be One of Trust

    Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach talks about the transformative potential of the blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies such as the bitcoin. While the adoption of cyber-currencies is running into headwinds, the blockchain is finding more practical use across industries. Its nature as a distributed ledger in which transactions are transparent among parties creates a “new architecture of trust,” Werbach adds. One doesn’t have to trust another party in a blockchain to do a transaction even if there is no centralized authority, such as a bank or government, in charge.
  • Jennifer Blouin on US Tax Reform and Multinational Corporations

    Does the U.S. system of taxation potentially give foreign buyers of U.S. multinational businesses an unfair advantage? Jennifer Blouin, Professor of Accounting at the Wharton School, joins host Dan Loney on Knowledge@Wharton to discuss this important and timely topic.