Peter J Wilcoxen

PAI 723 Economics for Public Decisions

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.


Oct 11 Memo 1 is due on Blackboard by 11:59 pm on 10/13. 
Sep 20 Starting 9/23, Brandon's office hours will be in Eggers 232. 
Sep 15 Starting 9/20, Zoom office hours are available by appointment
Sep 13 This week the lab will be on Thursday 9/16 3:15-4:45 in the CPR 
Sep 8 Corrected waiver market diagram available under materials for 9/8
Aug 30 Welcome! 

Weekly Assignments

Exercise 1 Due 9/8. Math exercise. 
Exercise 2 Due 9/15. Finding and analyzing market equilibria. 
Exercise 3 Due 9/22. The consequences of raising the gas tax in Washington, DC. 
Exercise 4 Due 9/29. An analysis of US restrictions on sugar imports. 
Exam 1 break No exercise due on 10/6. 
Memo 1 Due 10/13. Policy memo. 
Exercise 5 Due 10/20. Cross subsidies, price controls and indifference curves. 

Solution Keys

Exercise 1 Solution  
Exercise 2 Solution  
Exercise 3 Solution  
Exercise 4 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

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 10/12/2021