Policy Memo

You will write two Policy Memos that explain a current policy problem in context of an economic theory or practice.

Choose a policy problem. Pick a topic that can be explained by one of the economic concepts explained in class. You may write about policy examples we address in class, but your memo should go well beyond the class discussion and the assigned readings for that topic. If you are not sure whether your topic is appropriate, feel free to run it by me via email.
Explain the policy problem and why it is important. Provide background on the policy issue to help the reader follow your argument. Cite primary sources, policy documents, and academic literature.
Explain the economics. Put the challenge in the context of the relevant economic concept. Clearly explain the economic concept (includes charts and graphs, where appropriate) and how it connects to the policy.
Address your memo to a specific senior policymaker, and provide 2-3 policy options for meeting the policy challenge your memo describes. Ground your policy recommendations in economic theory/concepts. Make the case for your one preferred option. Only propose options that are feasible or reasonable.

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The point of your memo is to explain to the policy maker enough about the policy and the economics underlying the problem to make an informed decision on how to improve the policy.

Your policy memo should be 3-5 pages of text (not including the bibliography), using a standard 12-point font and 1” margins. Please number your pages. Please cite your sources correctly. Ask for help if you’re not sure how or whether to cite material. See Writing Assistance (above).

For guidance on appropriate sourcing, see the following resources: http://guides.swem.wm.edu/writingandciting


Submit the memo via Blackboard (as a word document or PDF file). Policy memos are worth 100 points each.

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