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Blog

Members of the PPI Student Group and students who receive funding from Wharton PPI for Public Policy Internships regularly write on topics related to economics and public policy. The articles highlight the student perspective on topics at the intersection of economics, business, and public policy. The views expressed on the Student Blog are the author’s opinions and don’t necessarily represent the Wharton Public Policy Initiative’s strategies, recommendations, or opinions.

  • Image: China remains in the process of building regional hubs for innovation, attracti... May 12
    In 2018, Chinese firms secured more than $30.9 billion in venture capital funding, surpassing for the first time that received by their U.S. counterparts in the same year, by $3.7 billion.[1] The technology-led revolution that China has undergone has spurred major innovations in the sphere of mobile payments, Financial Technology (FinTech), and transport. Nine of the world’s one-hundred largest technology companies, home-grown giants such as Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu, have thrived on the global stage. Simultaneously, venture capital funds are beginning to search for opportunities that exist beyond the mature and competitive markets in North America and Europe, markets in which there exist many established incumbents and a lack of new entrants. China, with its 700 million internet users (more than twice the population of the United States) and strong tax and loan incentives from the central government, is looking to be a more attractive destination for venture capital firms. In addition, the “Made in China 2025” plan looks to increase investment even further in the Chinese technology sector. However, despite the upside, foreign investors are reluctant due to navigating a digital, economic, cultural, and political climate entirely different from the one they are familiar with.
  • Image: Payment processing. Source: Pxhere May 10

    If your friend owes you money for putting the dinner tab on his card, all it takes is a few clicks in the Venmo app and within minutes the money is in your account. It is one of the easiest ways to transfer money between people. Yet the backbone of Venmo and the entire American financial system—the main payment processing system the United States—still runs on the same schedule as when it was launched in 1974. This is the reason why when you get a paycheck on a Friday, the funds are not available until the following Monday or Tuesday. In October, the Federal Reserve put out a notice seeking comments on how the central bank could “support faster payments in the United States.” While this upgrade is still in its early stages, the Federal Reserve needs to make a massive change in how payments are processed in the United States. The Fed should correct some of the system’s regressive components and make the system quicker and more consumer-friendly.

  • Image: US troops in Syria. Source: Wikimedia Commons May 2
    For nearly eight years, civil war has been raging in Syria. Pro-democracy forces, Islamist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Kurdish separatists form separate factions in the struggle against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The United States military has also played an active role in the conflict, both engaging in firefights with and conducting air strikes against enemy targets.[1] However, on December 19th 2018, President Donald Trump claimed victory over ISIS and announced that a withdrawal of American ground troops was imminent.[2]
  • Image: Patient and doctor. Source: Pexels May 1
    Medicare for All first became a fixture in the national political conversation in 2016, when Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) presented his plan for universal medical insurance during his Democratic presidential campaign. Since then, the idea has only gained traction in the political sphere, with several Democratic frontrunners for the 2020 presidential election announcing their support for Sanders’ plan.[1]
  • South China Sea April 15
    The tension between China, the United States, and other smaller countries around the South China Sea is one frequently covered by the news as the potential for conflict there holds a constant presence. Reports note that the most recent developments in the South China Sea involve increased military tensions as China, the United States, and various other countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei vie for authority in the region.[1]
  • Image: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, ï»... March 28

    In June 2018, Pakistan’s current-account deficit swelled to $19 billion.[1] Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are at a drastic four-year low, and the central bank has devalued the rupee by almost a third in the past year.[2] [3] Pakistan has a history of financial instability and a weak central government. As this article will demonstrate, many of these same domestic factors are at play in the current Pakistani financial crisis. This time, however, the extent of Pakistan’s problems is exacerbated by a significant debt to China. A project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a central piece in China’s ambitious international development efforts, known collectively as the Belt and Road Initiative. As the US-China conflict intensifies, it is essential to understand the threat of Chinese dominance in Pakistan and what the US can do to combat it.

  • Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s flagship healthcare reform March 28

    This is Part 2 of a two article series on healthcare reform in India. Part 1 explored the unique factors that drive healthcare policies in India. This piece analyzes India’s flagship healthcare reform, Ayushman Bharat, which is also known as “Modicare.”

  • Image: India’s healthcare policies are driven by its demographic challenges March 27
    This is Part 1 of a two article series on healthcare reform in India. This article explores the unique factors that drive healthcare reform in India. Part 2 analyzes India’s flagship healthcare reform, Ayushman Bharat, which is also known as “Modicare.”
  • Image: Dollar bill, Source: Burst March 12
    Turkey has been plagued by political and economic instability for the past several years as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strived to maximize his power and strengthen his country’s economy. Turkey’s economic growth in recent years has been fueled by the accumulation of corporate and financial foreign-currency debt, which are outstanding loans in Dollars and Euros that Turkey and Turkish companies now owe to outside investors.[1] These debts now account for 70 percent of its economy. The current account deficit in the country is at an all-time high, meaning that the amount of goods and services the country imports exceeds the amount it exports.[2] [3] Due to the strengthening of the dollar, Turkey is now experiencing difficulties in repaying its loans and is thus in danger of default. It is in the interests of the global community to prevent a Turkish default, which could spread to other countries.
  • Image: President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping. Source: Wikimedia Commons March 1
    On October 3rd, 2018, US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson set off a diplomatic storm after her comments on Russian violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). During a press conference, Hutchinson warned Russia that continued violations would force the US to consider all options, including the possibility of an American strike to “take out a (Russian) missile” capable of hitting any NATO countries.[1] Russian diplomats strongly condemned Hutchinson’s warning, forcing the ambassador to clarify her commitment to diplomatic solutions later that day. But within just three weeks, to the surprise of many in the international community, President Trump announced the United States’ intention to leave the treaty altogether. Ultimately, the surprise decision to leave the treaty unilaterally was a result of Russia’s ongoing aggression despite damaging international sanctions and the changing geopolitical realities in Asia.

WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>