2019 Public Policy Case Competition
January 22, 2019
6th Annual Case Competition:
Combating the Impact of Job Displacement
Technological innovation—in particular, automation and artificial intelligence—is rapidly changing the nature of work in the US. Although economists are still debating how it will affect workers, some expect to see massive job losses in the coming years. From the factory line to the coal mine, high-paying, low-education jobs are already disappearing. And it is possible that many white collar jobs may be next. No one wants to, or can, stop the shift to automation or the invention of other technologies that increase productivity dramatically. How, though, can public policy best help those who lose employment in the modern economy?
Please write a policy proposal that ameliorates the circumstances of displaced workers. Your proposal can be specific to an industry or geography of particular interest to you. Possibilities could include policies that focus on a region such as Appalachia, or on workers losing out in a certain industry, like coal mining or the taxi industry, or on a particular demographic—for instance, a gender or age group. Policies could be focused on helping train workers in ways that address the shortcomings of existing retraining programs, inducing businesses to move to areas with high levels of economic disruption, creating a stronger “safety net” to counter the loss of income due to economic changes, or much more. Whatever you propose, make sure it is an evidence-based, cost-effective government policy.
Beyond describing the policy or program itself, your proposal must place your ideas into the context of any previous or current policies/programs that are similar in scope or design.In addition, a successful proposal must provide an economic analysis that:
- Quantitatively projects the economic and social impact of the policy or program (i.e., provides a reasonable cost-benefit analysis).
- Assesses the costs of implementation.
- Offers a funding model for covering those implementation costs.
- Indicates metrics of success.
- Could driverless vehicles spell the end of the road for truck drivers? (PBS News Hour)
- The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation. (NY Times)
- The Future of Jobs Report 2018. (World Economic Forum)
- Disabled and disdained: In rural America, some towns are divided between those who work and those who don’t. (Washington Post)
- Why is the U.S. So Bad At Worker Retraining? (The Atlantic)
- Digitalization and the American Workforce. (Brookings)
- Why Aren’t ‘Manly’ Men Taking ‘Girly’ Jobs (PBS)
- Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places (Brookings)
- Students who want to participate are required to register by Sunday, February 24, 11:59 PM.
- Students must work in teams of 3-4.
- All team members must be enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students at Penn.
- All submissions must follow University standards regarding Academic Integrity, including the proper citation of all source materials.
- All submissions must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, March 19, 11:59 PM.
- Up to five finalists will be selected. All teams will be notified of their status by Monday, March 25. Finalists must deliver a 15-minute presentation to a panel of judges on April 5, starting at 10 AM.
- Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director, Keystone Research Center
- Rich Lazer, Deputy Mayor of Labor, City of Philadelphia
- Steve Viscelli, Senior Fellow, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
- Richard Cordray, Visiting Fellow with the Wharton Public Policy Initiative for 2019
FORMAT FOR SUBMISSIONS
Policy proposals must be submitted as PDF documents, with the names of all team members given on a front title page. The interior pages should not contain any team member’s name. This will help us ensure anonymous judging when we review them. Proposals may be no more than 2000 words in length and may contain up to 6 exhibits.