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Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Public Policy and Personal Finance
This seminar will provide an introduction and discussion of the impact of public policy on personal finance. Voters regularly rate the economy as one of the most important factors in their political views, and most of those opinions are focused on their individual bottom lines. In this course we will discuss the rationale for different public policies and how they affect personal financial situations. We will explore personal finance issues such as taxes, loans, charity, insurance, and pensions. Using the context of (hypothetical) personal finance positions, we will discuss the public policy implications of various proposals and how they affect different groups of people. For example, we will study the implications of differential tax rates for different types of income, the promotion of home ownership in the United States, and policies to care for our aging population. While economic policy will be the focus of much of the course, we will also examine some of the implications of social policies on personal finance as well. Students will be required to prepare brief memos on each topic and write a short paper at the end of the quarter. Active participation in the classroom discussion is an important part of the experience. Student learning goals include understanding the implications of government policy and the differential impacts on overall welfare and individuals' welfare.