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
It is estimated that one individual organ, eye, and tissue donor can save up to 75 lives . Currently an average of 22 individuals die each day waiting to be matched for a transplant . Donated tissues and organs both have lifesaving potential, but unlike donated organs, donated tissue is also purchased by biotechnology and cosmetic companies for research purposes. Most donors, however, are not aware of the differences between organ and tissue donation, including how it is removed, used, and regulated . Even fewer are aware that by registering for organ donation, they have become tissue donors by default and that their tissues can be sold for up to $80,000 to profitable companies . In order to increase transparency and not lose informed consent of donors, registration for tissue donation and organ donation in the United States should be separate processes.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple — these companies have become household names, and the world today heavily relies on their services. To many, the benefits of cheap and easy connection to information are obvious, ranging from increased educational and career opportunities to an increased rate of technological innovation. However, as the pace of this progress accelerates, two distinct issues have remained concerning: the use of these technologies and access to them. The topic of this article mostly focuses on how people still lack access to the Internet. This lack of access to and of use of the Internet is known as the “digital divide.”
Leo drives a mid-2000s Acura TSX and arrives at the pickup point in front of a train station in Trenton, New Jersey. I’m headed home from New York City for the Thanksgiving holiday. Leo gives me a hand with my suitcase, and in under a minute, we’re off, driving Interstate 276 West most of the way there. The 26.66 mile trip takes 45 minutes. It costs me $34.68 on one of the most popular rideshare platforms, of which Leo receives about $25, minus the cost of gas, tolls, and vehicle mileage. Leo is a pretty talkative guy, and the subject turns to the various driving platforms, like Uber and Lyft. Leo is a young guy, and he tells me he’s one of the approximately 1 in 4 drivers who does not have health insurance.
Many young Americans leave home and never return. In particular, this trend can be seen in rural America. 1,350 counties “non-metro” counties have lost population since 2010. Since the mid 1990s, rural population growth has been significantly lower than urban areas. The movement of people has resulted in national economic growth, but there are consequences. Behind these numbers lie worrisome consequences.
Caffeine has been heralded as the world’s most popular drug. However, as more people want their coffees to go, the industry has failed to confront the waste from single-use cups. In the last two decades, the United Kingdom has seen a 400% increase in the number of coffee shops. The sheer volume of waste affects both the environment and the country’s waste management infrastructure . In the UK alone, people throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year . The scope of this problem is magnified by the difficulty of recycling wax-lined paper (the most common material for coffee cups), with only 0.25% of these cups being reprocessed . In order to combat the growing practical and environmental effects of throwing away single-use cups, UK lawmakers have stepped in, and are considering instituting a “latte levy,” a new tax to influence on-the-go coffee drinkers.
The Environmental Policy Team writes about energy policy, environmental policy, and infrastructure policy. Our members research the economics of clean energy, disaster infrastructure, and pollution markets. Past articles have explored the implications of a water market in California and the financial differences between cap-and-trade and a carbon tax in China.
Fiscal and Regulatory Policy
The Fiscal and Regulatory Policy Team studies government spending, taxation, and regulation. The authors evaluate the design and implementation of government programs. When they identify points of failure in these programs, they propose policy changes to address them. The authors also study how to make regulations more efficient without harming markets or consumers.
Health, Education, and Social Policy
The Health, Education, and Social Policy Team focuses on policies that provide government services for underserved populations. Previous topics have included the viability of programs like SNAP and mental healthcare in rural regions. The group also analyzes regulatory policy in sectors like housing, education, and healthcare.
Innovation and Technology Policy
The Innovation and Technology Team explores the interconnection between technology and public policy. We research these relationships in the context of economic, tax, and intellectual property policy. We seek to understand how these policies promote innovation, and how technology can be applied to policy problems. Our research touches healthcare, education, R&D funding, regulation, patent law, and economic policy.
Trade and Foreign Policy
The Trade and Foreign Policy Team researches global affairs and new international trends from an American outlook. Members of the Trade and Foreign Policy Team explore issues from economic development to national security. In the context of the international system, the Trade and Foreign Policy Team studies and evaluates national and international foreign policy from economic, developmental, and security perspectives.
Recent Articles(2 total)