Peter J Wilcoxen

PAI 723 Economics for Public Decisions

General Information About the Course

General Information, Textbook and Requirements
General information that 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 handouts not posted elsewhere.


Dec 10 The final will be in Eggers 032 (next door to the usual room). 
Nov 29 Chris will hold a review session on Monday 12/10 1-4 pm in Eggers 111. Note revised location. 
Nov 9 The lab session will be in 209 Eggers, the PAIA conference room. It will be at the usual time: 3:00-4:30. 
Oct 21 The second exam will be on Monday, November 12, one class later than originally scheduled. 
Oct 15 As mentioned in class, part C.4 of exercise 5 is not required. 
Oct 3 The final exam will be Wednesday, December 12, 8-11am. 
Sep 26 Due to a conference I won't have office hours on Wed Sep 26. 
Sep 7 Maxwell and Arts and Sciences offer a free Excel Certification program; see the link under Resources. 
Aug 30 The room for Chris' office hours has been set. It will be HB Crouse 200. 
Aug 28 Chris will have office hours today in Eggers 400Q in PARCC. They will be later than usual: 3:30-5:00. 
Aug 26 Room change: the class has been moved to Eggers 018. 
Aug 25 Welcome! 


Exercise 1 Due 9/5. Math exercise. 
Exercise 2 Due 9/12. Finding and analyzing market equilibria. 
Exercise 3 Due 9/19. The consequences of raising the gas tax in Washington, DC. 
Exercise 4 Due 9/26. An analysis of US restrictions on sugar imports. 
Memo 1 Due 10/8. Policy memo. 
Exercise 5 Due 10/17. Indifference curves and budget constraints. 
Exercise 6 Due 10/24. Household equilibrium, utility functions and demand curves. 
Exercise 7 Due 10/31. Evaluating climate change policy. 
Memo 1 Optional Revision Due 11/5. Optional revised policy memo. 
Exercise 8 Due 11/7. Two-period intertemporal choice.  
Exercise 9 Due 11/26. Present value of research on fuel cells. Note revised date. 
Memo 2 Due 12/5. Choosing among brownfield redevelopment projects. 

Solution Keys

Exercise 1 Solution  
Exercise 2 Solution  
Exercise 3 Solution  
Exercise 4 Solution  
Exercise 5 Solution  
Exercise 6 Solution  
Exercise 7 Solution  
Exericse 8 Solution  
Exercise 9 Solution  
Memo 2 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.

Online Economics 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.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 12/10/2018