Public Policy in Action

Jul 23, 2003


Dr. Bruce Yandle
Professor of Economics and Legal Studies
Clemson University 

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"If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made."-- Otto Von Bismarck

It is no secret to veteran Congressional staff that governing can be a chaotic and complex experience. It is often difficult to understand the incentives in the political process or assess the actual outcomes of Congressional decisions.

Through an economic lens, Professor Yandle will analyze various aspects of governing institutions and evaluate how economic incentives influence government action. This “big picture” perspective will give participants unique insights into legislator behavior, voting incentives, and the regulatory process, all of which are essential for predicting, measuring, and achieving beneficial policy results.

By developing an economic framework that explores political decision-making, this course will help prepare Congressional staffers to better address the following problems:

  • Why has the U.S. traditionally experienced low voter turnout? Given recent elections, do individual votes count more than ever before?
  • Why does the order of Congressional voting make a difference to which bills are passed?
  • What economic and political challenges do regulators face when implementing public policy? Is there a way to alleviate these difficulties?
  • What is the effect of insulating many federal workers from political pressure? Does this allow them to be less biased? Does it make them less accountable?