Peter J Wilcoxen

PAI 723 Economics for Public Decisions

Fall 2023

General Information About the Course

General Information, Textbook, Software, and Requirements
General information you may need at the beginning of the semester.
Course Outline
The list of the topics to be covered in class this semester including links to optional exercises.
Materials from Class
Copies of notes and other materials from class sessions.


Nov 3 Sarah will be out of town on Thu 11/9 and will not have office hours. 
Oct 17 A photo of Oracle's America's Cup boat is here
Oct 17 The final exam will be Dec 15, 9-12 in Eggers 018. 
Oct 16 The lab on 10/20 will be 3:30-5:00 (30 minutes later than usual). 
Oct 11 No Friday lab this week, 10/13, due to travel. 
Oct 4 Reminders: No class on Mon 10/9; Exam 1 on Wed 10/11. 
Sep 27 The lab this Friday, 9/29, will be 8:30-10:00 am in Eggers 209. 
Sep 11 Exam 1 will be Oct 11 to avoid conflict with the ICMA conference. 
Sep 11 Memo 1 will be due Oct 6 to avoid conflict with the rescheduled exam. 
Sep 8 Due to a department retreat, today's lab will run from 3:30 to 5:00. 
Aug 27 Welcome! 

Weekly Assignments

Exercise 1 Due 9/6. Math exercise. 
Exercise 2 Due 9/13. Finding and analyzing market equilibria. 
Exercise 3 Due 9/20. The consequences of raising the gas tax in Washington, DC. 
Exercise 4 Due 9/27. An analysis of US restrictions on sugar imports. 
Memo 1 Due 10/6. Policy memo. 
Exercise 5 Due 10/25. Cross subsidies, price controls and indifference curves. 
Exercise 6 Due 11/1. Household equilibrium, utility functions and demand curves. 
Exercise 7 Due 11/8. Evaluating climate change policy. 
Exercise 8 Due 12/6. Present value of research on fuel cells. 

Solution Keys

Exercise 1 Solution  
Exercise 2 Solution  
Exercise 3 Solution  
Exercise 4 Solution  
Exercise 5 Solution  
Exercise 6 Solution  
Exercise 7 Solution  

Old Exams

Exams from Previous Semesters
These exams are a good guide to the questions that will be asked on exams this semester. Most people find it very helpful to do some of them for practice. They include "check your work" answers or detailed solutions.

Optional Exercises

The exercises available from the links below are also available through the "Course Outline" page under individual topics.  That's probably a better way to get to them. They're listed here as well in case that's convenient.

Economic Skills Project
Exercises with detailed explanations and some videos.
Five Minute Exercises
Very short practice exercises designed to be done in 5 minutes or so.
Supplementary Exercises
Other exercises you may want to do to help prepare for exams.

Other Resources

Math Quick Reference Guide
Quick reference on key math concepts used in the class.
A quick reference list of names, abbreviations and symbols.
Materials on Memos from Colloquium
Presentation and materials from the MPA colloquium session.
Tips on Writing a Policy Memo
There's no single formula for writing an effective policy memo because every policy is different. However, here are a few guidelines that may help.
More Tips on Writing a Policy Memo
Here are a few additional Do's and Don'ts about writing policy memos.
An interactive monopoly simulation game.
Excel Certification
Maxwell and Arts and Sciences sponsor a free Excel Certification program.
Khan Academy Module on Factoring
Very handy if you're rusty on factoring algebraic expressions.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 11/26/2023