University of Wisconsin Madison Policy Article Reflection Discussion


For this assignment you will complete a News/Policy Brief. This is an individual assignment. You will choose a recent news article related to the topics covered in lecture. Specifically, find an article that includes some kind of economic policy proposal (i.e., minimum wage, carbon tax, rent control, international trade agreement, government stimulus, etc.). Alternatively, you may find an article that includes some kind of economic problem or issue related to inefficiency or inequity (i.e., pollution, traffic congestion, unaffordable housing, social inequality, etc.) and propose a policy intervention. Some potential news outlets you might consider include:

Note: Most of these sites require a subscription but allow you to view a certain number of articles for free. You may need to navigate to the “Economics” or “Business” section to find a relevant article. Alternatively, you could try searching Google News ( (Links to an external site.)), then navigate to the “Business” or “Economy” section. Google News articles are generally free and accessible. You can also search for news articles through the UW-Madison Library site: to an external site.

After you have identified an article, prepare a Policy Brief (3 to 4 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font) where you identify, define and illustrate some topics covered in the relevant modules in class. Your answer must provide a clear or novel interpretation, expand on the concepts learned in class in a meaningful way and show that you understood the article and its application. In other words, demonstrate that you remember, understand, and can apply the topics covered in class, and can evaluate market/policy-relevant news using what we learned in the course.

For this assignment, I recommend first showing that you understand the economic principles behind the news article and can demonstrate what standard economic theory would predict under such circumstances. Then, expand on why the standard economic prediction may or may not hold under the circumstances presented. In other words, are there potential unintended consequences, externalities, market power, or other reasons that the standard market equilibrium model (from Ch. 4) may not be applicable? For example, if your policy is a proposed rent control, first show how the standard model would predict lower supply of apartments and higher rent. Then, consider what this model may not account for, such as black markets, the relationship with the landlord, or other non-rent costs such as search costs, maintenance, etc. Finally, use your positive and normative analysis skills. What do you predict will occur under the proposed policy? Who will benefit and who will lose? Given this, should the policy be implemented at all? Why or why not? Are there ways to improve the policy for more efficiency or equity? Should the policy be implemented at all?

You may find the following steps helpful in your analysis:

Step one: Is the supply or demand curve shifting (or both)? Which direction is the supply and/or demand curve shifting? (Note: In many cases—for example, under a tax or a quota—supply or demand may not shift but the equilibrium quantity may still change if the policy prevents the free market equilibrium).

Step two: What is the new equilibrium price and quantity under the new or proposed policy? How have prices and quantities changed in the new equilibrium?

Step three: What is the new consumer and producer surplus? (I.e., who wins and who loses?). Are there any market inefficiencies and associated deadweight losses created?

Step four: Use normative analysis to evaluate the pros and cons of the policy. Should the policy be implemented? Why or why not? (For example: If deadweight loss is created, is it worth it? If taxes are generated, can these be redistributed in a way that improves the policy, such as by compensating the losers?). Here you should consider questions of equity, distribution, inequality, etc.

STUDYPOOL:**PLEASE USE THIS ARTCILE and no additional sources for this assignment:…

Grading Rubric:

  • Excellent (10 pts): You identify, define and illustrate some topics covered in class, and relate the article to some key issues. The best briefs will 1) Identify a news article with a topic or policy relevant to the topics covered in class; 2) Clearly state what the standard equilibrium model of supply and demand would predict under such a policy or situation; 3) Expand by arguing why the standard model may or may not apply (i.e., are there any market failures/unintended consequences/imperfect information/etc.?); 4) Use both positive and normative analysis to predict what you think will occur and then argue why you think this is a good or bad policy (i.e., consider efficiency, equity, winners and losers, etc.). These briefs will provide strong, reasoned arguments for why the policy is a good or bad idea, and/or how it might be improved.
  • Good (8-9 pts): You complete most of what is expected for an “Excellent” Policy Brief, such as identifying a relevant news article and clearly stating what the standard equilibrium model would predict. However, you do not completely or accurately expand on the model or fail to implement both positive and normative analysis. These briefs may also include most of the elements in an “Excellent” Brief but fail to meet the minimum requirements or include significant grammatical errors.
  • Fair (6-7 pts): You identify, define and illustrate some topics covered in class, and relate the article to some key issues. However, you do not clearly or accurately show how the standard equilibrium model applies. These papers may also attempt to expand on the basic model or include positive and normative analysis, but fail to accurately or completely apply concepts from class. Finally, papers may be considered “Fair” if they include significant grammatical errors or fail to meet the basic requirements, such as the number of pages, spacing, font size, or relevant course material.
  • Poor (3-5 pts): You attempt to identify a relevant news article, but fail to connect the article to the relevant class material. These briefs may identify some topics covered in class but do not demonstrate an understanding of the material and how it relates to the article. These papers may also suffer from significant departure from the instructions and basic formatting requirements.
  • Very poor (0-2 pts): You substantially misapply the course material or depart from the assignment’s instructions, such as by not finding a relevant article, significantly misinterpreting the article or failing completely to demonstrate an understanding of the course material.

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