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For Students

Penn students get involved in public policy in a wide range of ways, including innovative coursework and research, various on-campus organizations, internships both on and off campus, and other ways that you can see here. Wharton PPI encourages, highlights, and develops opportunities at Penn for learning about public policy. 

  • During Fall Break, fifteen students from the Wharton Public Policy Initiative Student Group (PPISG) visited Washington D.C. as part of PPISG’s Annual Policy Trek.
  • Kevin Myers, Natasha Menon, Jenna Liu, and Michael Krone (left to right)

    College students Michael Krone, Jenna Liu, Natasha Menon, and Kevin Myers won the 6th annual PPI public policy case competition. The focus this year was on automation—specifically, ameliorating the effects of job displacement caused by advancements in technology. Their project, “New Horizons,” is a proposal to help shift administrative workers in Pennsylvania into jobs that are low risk for automation and fit their skills and aptitudes, and to encourage them to gain further career development, using the PA CareerLink website.  The four of them were excited to get involved in a case competition but were nervous that they did not know much about the topic.  To start, they looked at research on automation and spoke to experts they had met through course work and internships.  As they went along, they were then able to gain feedback from people with different perspectives on the subject, which helped them continually refine their thinking. 

  • The second class of Public Policy Research Scholars (PPRS) began their journey through this rigorous honors program in 2017. Now, just two years later, ten students are graduating from Penn with a solid understanding of economic and political analysis of public policy; knowledge of the policymaking process; and the application of theoretical and quantitative tools to practical, real-life policy questions. Learn more about the cohort by clicking into each student’s PPRS profile.
  • Penn students in front of the Library of Congress on the Wharton Industry Exploration Program 2019
    For three days in May, Wharton Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department Professor David Zaring took a group of students to Washington, DC for the Wharton Industry Exploration Program’s short-term field course on the Public Policy Sector. While in DC, students were able to attend sessions at various public policy institutions, to learn about how they conduct policy research, and how the research fits into the federal policymaking process.
  • Richard Cordray

    Wharton PPI welcomed the former Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, as our Visiting Fellow for Spring 2019. He also was a Distinguished Policy Fellow at Penn Law this semester.

  • Volkswagon production plant with robotic automation.
    This competition, open to all undergraduate and graduate students across the University of Pennsylvania, is intended to foster discussion and collaborative research on key public policy issues. One team will win the grand prize of $5,000.  Two teams will earn honorable mention awards of $2,000 each.
  • Set your sights on interning in Washington, DC
    It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do next summer. Some government agencies start their recruiting for summer interns in the fall, while most look for interns later in the winter or early spring. Here are some tips for how to find, apply, and fund a summer internship in DC.
  • Partnership for Public Service
    Two representatives from the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington DC, shared their expertise with Penn students to help prepare them for applying for government internships and jobs. The Partnership strives to revitalize the federal government by transforming the way government works and inspiring a new generation to serve.
  • Summer Interns meeting alumni in DC
    For the fifth consecutive year, Wharton PPI is pleased to fund a cohort of Penn students who are serving as public policy interns in DC. The 63 interns, who received funding through a competitive application process, represent undergraduate and graduate programs across six different Penn Schools — Wharton, Arts and Sciences, Law, Education, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • Jeff Wrase, Chief Economist Senate Finance Committee Majority Staff, Karl Russo, Senior Economist...
    The Wharton Industry Exploration Program, a half-credit course organized by Wharton PPI and led by Professor David Zaring, brought a group of 25 students to Washington, DC for three days of experiential learning about public policy research.
  • Congrats PPRS Class of 2018
    The first class of Public Policy Research Scholars (PPRS) began their journey through this rigorous honors program in 2016. Now, just two years later, seven students are graduating from Penn with a solid understanding of economic and political analysis of public policy; knowledge of the policymaking process; and the application of theoretical and quantitative tools to practical, real-life policy questions. The PPRS cohort for the Class of 2018 includes students from all four of Penn’s undergraduate schools.
  • Sam Margolius, Nadia Malik, Jessica Irvine,  Blanca Castro
    During the spring semester, Wharton PPI ran its 5th annual Public Policy Case Competition, focusing on the opioid crisis. The competition challenged students to work in teams of 3-4 people in addressing the following prompt: Develop a specific government policy or program (at the local, state, or federal level) that would prevent (as opposed to treat) opioid use disorder. This policy can focus on the supply side (i.e., the pharmaceutical industry, medical professionals, insurance companies, or other purveyors/distributors), or on the demand side (i.e., potential licit and illicit opioid consumers), and can address business or government policy. Beyond describing the policy or program itself, students had to project its economic and social impact, including assessing the costs of implementation and providing a funding model.
  • Public Policy Research Scholars
    PPRS is an interdisciplinary certificate program intended for rising sophomores with a background in Economics, who want to explore the economic impact of U.S. public policies. Application Deadline is June 1st!
  • Opioid Pills
    This competition, open to all undergraduate and graduate students across the University of Pennsylvania, is intended to foster discussion and collaborative research on key public policy issues. One team will win the grand prize of $5,000.  Two teams will earn honorable mention awards of $2,000 each. (Registration is now closed.)
  • Graduate Student Interns
    For the fourth consecutive year, Wharton PPI is pleased to fund a large cohort of 99 Penn students who are serving as public policy interns in DC. The interns, chosen through a competitive application process, represent undergraduate and graduate programs across six different Penn Schools — Wharton, Arts and Sciences, Law, Social Policy and Practice, Engineering, and Education.
  • Graduation ceremony
    Graduation for the Class of 2017 is upon us and the staff at Wharton PPI would like to take this opportunity to recognize the graduating seniors who have made significant contributions to the success of the Wharton PPI Student Group .
  • Wharton PPI held its 4th annual Public Policy Case Competition this spring, focusing on the issue of financial inclusion. About 7 percent of American households are “unbanked,” meaning they lack access to a bank account, while another 20 percent are considered “underbanked”—they have a bank account but may supplement it with non-traditional financial services like check cashing or payday loans.
  • The American Enterprise Institute and the Wharton Public Policy Initiative are pleased to co-present a special two-part program examining the first 100 days of the Trump Administration.
  • It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do next summer. Some government agencies start their recruiting for summer interns in the fall, while most look for interns later in the winter or early spring. This infographic provides some helpful tips for getting a public policy summer internship in DC.
  • The Wharton Public Policy Initiative is pleased to announce that Samantha Vinograd (C’05) will be our Visiting Fellow for the Fall 2016 semester.
  • (From left) Aroon Vijaykar with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and teammates Michael Weigley and Ale...

    With an impressive proposal to improve America’s aging water infrastructure, three Wharton MBAs took home the $5,000 top prize in Wharton PPI ’s Public Policy Case Competition earlier this year.

    But the winning policy proposal earned Aroon Vijaykar, WG’18, Alex Bolano, WG’17, and Michael Weigley, WG’16, something even more valuable–an invitation to present their ideas to policymakers at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

  • Workers maintain the thermal power station at Takoradi, Ghana, June 21, 2006. (Photo by Jonathan ...

    Arjun Nath, second year MBA student at the Wharton School, interned with two different groups within the World Bank in DC. He sat down with Wharton PPI to share his experience working and living in DC for a summer. Listen to the interview on iTunesU or read the transcript below.

  • The current water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan, is a multi-layered crisis. For local citizens, it obviously is a health crisis, as well as a crisis in government management and public trust. But for the citizens of Flint, and for populations across America’s many aging cities, it also embodies the crisis looming in America’s aging infrastructure—not just its rusting water pipes, but its many dilapidated and outdated roads, bridges, and rail lines. Beyond being an issue of public safety (think of last year’s Amtrak disaster), economists and policymakers point to infrastructure investment as perhaps the key driver for America’s future economic growth.
  • Wharton PPI is partnering with a Bay Area tech nonprofit, the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation , to offer a unique opportunity for six Wharton students to participate in an industry research project. Led by two principal investigators, Professor Lorin Hitt of Wharton and Gregory Miller of the OSET Foundation, the six students will fill a void in the literature by completing a comprehensive analysis of the global election technology industry.
  • Looking for funding for your summer internship? Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI) offers funding, on a competitive basis, to students who accept an offer for a public policy summer internship at a government entity or non-profit policy research organization in Washington, DC, that otherwise would be unpaid or come only with modest compensation. All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any of Penn’s schools are eligible to apply for funding from Penn Wharton PPI.


  • The Wharton PPI Summer Internship Program offers financial and programmatic support to Penn students who intern in Washington, DC. 90-Second Stories is a series of videos featuring interns talking about their experiences in DC. Emily Zhen kicks off this year’s video series with her account of interning at the Treasury.

  • For the second year in a row, Wharton PPI is pleased to offer funding to a large cohort of Penn students who will serve as public policy interns in DC. The students, chosen through a competitive application process, represent both undergraduate and graduate programs in seven different Penn Schools – Wharton, Arts and Sciences, Law, Social Policy and Practice, Medicine, Design and Engineering and Applied Science. 

  • Earlier this spring, PwC US donated $50,000 to the University to establish a two-year PwC Scholars program. The program was established to recognize the accomplishments of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania who have contributed significantly to faculty-led public policy research. The first three PwC Scholars to be named are Steven Knauer, Biruk Bekele, and Shane Murphy. Wharton PPI interviewed the students to learn more about their interest in public policy and the faculty-led research they contributed to.
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA March 6, 2015PwC US today announced that it will donate a total of $50,000, for the establishment of a two-year PwC Scholars program.  The gift, which will be administered through the Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI), will be used to recognize the accomplishments of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania who have contributed significantly to faculty-led public policy research.  

Student Internship Experience

  • Nick Buchta, C’17

    “The internship in media and government relations with Brookings turned out to be everything I was looking for. I was able to use past professional and academic experiences to contribute to the work done by the Institution in a meaningful way.”

  • Shane Murphy, C’17

    “Over the course of the summer I learned a lot about corporate finance and was able to develop skills that will be marketable in any field. The SEC was a great organization to work for because of the people and resources they offer. Working with smart, talented, and accomplished people inspired me.

  • Lexin Cai, SP2’15

    “As an intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, I really did substantive work and worked as part of the team. I developed good relationships and felt like a valued member. The Center is a vibrant and exciting place in which to grow professionally.”

  • Harrison Newman, C’17

    “I ate numerous homemade Tanzanian meals, attended a barbeque at the Ambassador’s house, and met many of my colleagues’ children. Having formed these relationships, I found myself enjoying a loose on-the-job environment in which collaboration occurred naturally.”

  • Genesis Nunez, C’16

    “My time at the EEOC was definitely worthwhile because I was gaining hands-on experience on a topic I was truly passionate about.”

  • Megan Yan, W’17, C’17

    “I had an amazing time at the SEC this past summer and really attribute it to the environment I was put in, the work I was given, and the opportunities I took advantage of.”

  • Benjamin Nathan, GFA’16

    “The internship at the World Bank gave me a fascinating, first-hand look into the operations of an important international finance institution.”


  • <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>
  • <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>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>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>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>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>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>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>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>