There is increasingly broad recognition that policymaking can be done more effectively when decisions regarding support for public programs are made strategically, based on the rigorous analysis of evidence. In several key areas of social policy, including housing and education, such evidence-based policymaking at the federal level needs to rely on data collected and evaluated at the state and local levels. This seminar provided staffers with a better understanding about how the state and local evidence base is gathered and how that base can inform their own work.Dennis Culhane|education|housing|podcast|right|social insurance
This seminar, based on research conducted at the Penn Program on Regulation, focused on analyzing the impacts of regulation on the economy and promoting the attributes of a high-quality regulatory system. An emphasis was placed on the role of legislators in overseeing and supporting the achievement of regulatory excellence, situated within the context of ongoing efforts for regulatory reform as well as new imperatives, such as the development of algorithmic technologies.Cary Coglianese|left|podcast|regulation
There has been much discussion in recent years about a skills gap in the U.S., driven largely by employer complaints over filling jobs. The term “skills gap” can mean different things. Usually, it refers to a belief that there is something fundamentally lacking in the labor force. In the typical telling of the skills gap story, schools are failing to educate students effectively and are graduating students who do not have the skills employers need, thus creating a basic skills shortfall in the labor force as a whole. Others who talk about a skills gap really are referring to a skills shortage, meaning that at the current market price for labor, employers cannot hire the people they are looking for. The third sense of a gap entails a skills mismatch, and describes parts of the U.S.—for instance, North Dakota, when energy production there skyrocketed—where labor demand is booming but where people in the region do not have matching job skills. A skills gap, skills shortage, and skills mismatch are all different and theoretically could be going on all at once.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) encompasses issues of risk transparency and fairness. There is general agreement that floodplain residents need to know their risk-based insurance premium–and with that information, how to make their homes safer and thus make flood insurance more affordable. This talk, by Professor Howard Kunreuther, focused on the importance of accurate mapping of flood risk, how to encourage investment in cost effective mitigation measures, and ways to deal with fairness and affordability in designing a flood insurance program for the future.behavioral economics|Howard Kunreuther|insurance|podcast|right|risk management
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides federally administered flood insurance, is up for reauthorization in September. Since its inception in 1968, the NFIP has been amended several times. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was written to address the insolvency of the NFIP by moving to a risk-based premium model for many homes in flood-prone areas, some of which were being charged a subsidized flood insurance premium. Implementation of Biggert-Waters was delayed, however, with the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. With the continued concern over the financial solvency of the NFIP, the reauthorization will need to address two core questions: (1) What does it mean to implement a risk- based premium? And (2) What does it mean to deal with issues of fairness and affordability?
At a time when public confidence in major societal institutions seems to be under siege, the blockchain offers an intriguing new paradigm for establishing trust in human transactions. The blockchain, through its use of secure cryptography and reliance on distributed consensus networks, is the basis for “trustless trust”—that is, it makes it possible for people to trust the output of the blockchain system without trusting any actor within it. The blockchain will need governance mechanisms, however, in order to realize its enormous potential. In this seminar, Professor Kevin Werbach discussed in detail how the respective roles of blockchain platforms and more traditional legal mechanisms can be made to work together.blockchain|Kevin Werbach|podcast|regulation|right
In 2013, US companies held $2 trillion in indefinitely reinvested earnings abroad. How and why they continue to do this is central to the debate surrounding US international tax policy and carries broader repercussions for the domestic economy. In this lecture, Professor Blouin focused on differences in corporate tax regimes worldwide; the state of foreign US holdings (including the crucial difference between unrepatriated earnings and cash); corporate inversions and the application of EU “state aid” rules; and implications for corporate tax reform.Jennifer Blouin|podcast|tax