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Wonk Tank

Wonk Tank is a student blog written by members of the PPI Student Group. Articles cover topics on a range of issues at the intersection of business, economics, and public policy. Check back regularly for new articles.

Wonk Tank Articles

  • Image: Venezuelan refugee in Colombia, Source: Flickr January 30
    Over the past decade, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has deteriorated the standard of living in the country. Former president Hugo Chavez and current president Nicolas Maduro have been unable to stimulate a stagnated economy in order to ameliorate living conditions in Venezuela. The United States has imposed sanctions on the country, arguing that they are necessary to restore democracy and human rights. Most recently, on November 1st, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order establishing sanctions on Venezuelan gold.[1] In this article, we provide an analysis of why the US government chose to target gold and present potential alternate solutions to the government’s current approach.
  • Image: The ASEAN Headquarters in Jakarta, Source: Wikicommons Media January 21
    At a press conference in 2016, President Obama remarked, “The United States and ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] have forged a strategic partnership guided by key principles, including that ASEAN will remain central to peace, prosperity and progress in the Asia Pacific.”[1] However, the U.S.-ASEAN partnership faces several emergent challenges, including disruptions in trade policy, adjustments in major economies, US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Chinese territorial expansion, and a lack of organizational unity and infrastructure. This article will provide a history of the U.S. relationship with the ASEAN, an overview of the various problems faced by the partnership, and recommended policy responses to ensure continuing United States and Southeast Asian economic development and prosperity.
  • Image: U.S.-China Trade War, Source: PressTV January 16
    During the last year, the United States enacted a series of anti-trade measures to reset the U.S. and China relationship. The Chinese have reciprocated with anti-trade measures of their own in an effort to punish the United States. For the United States, the goal of the resulting trade war is to reset China’s trading relationship with the world. However, in the interim, U.S. industries, especially the agriculture industry, are suffering from the loss of their largest export market. How does trade work? What is the history of the U.S. and China trading relationship? What is each nation’s strategy and ultimately, what are the consequences of the trade war?
  • Image: Holding hands at hospital. Source: Flickr. January 14
    Physician-assisted death (PAD) entered the national conversation in the 1990s with the highly publicized case of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan pathologist, who chose to assist his patient, in the final stages of ALS, in dying. Dr. Kevorkian was ultimately tried and convicted of second-degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance.[1] In 2014, the discussion surrounding PAD emerged again when Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer, elected to move to Oregon in order to end her life under the state’s Death with Dignity Act (DWDA).[2] Despite almost 30 years passing since PAD entered the national dialogue, it remains a largely unresolved issue in the United States.
  • Image: Judge, gavel, and courtroom. Source: Luke Air Force Base December 4
    Over the past year, the #MeToo movement has sparked an international conversation about the prevalence of sexual assault. It has become clear that sexual violence is an epidemic that no woman is immune to - from Hollywood celebrities and domestic workers to Olympic gymnasts and farmworkers.[1] With the spotlight finally on this pervasive issue, it is important to examine the role of public policy in addressing sexual assault claims and providing reparations to victims.

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DISCLAIMER:

The Public Policy Initiative Student Group is housed under the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI). Penn Wharton PPI and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania do not provide any endorsement, either implied or explicit, in research or activities produced by the Public Policy Initiative Student Group or for the student blog Wonk Tank.