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 solution to the Spring 2019 final is now available here
Dec 6 The deadline for memo 2 is extended from Friday to Saturday night. 
Dec 4 Some notes about the third exam are available here and about what was covered on 11/20 are available here
Dec 4 Chris will hold a review session Tuesday 12/10 from 9:00 to 11:00 in Eggers 111. 
Dec 3 There will be an extra lab session Monday 12/9 from 3:00-4:30 in the CPR conference room. 
Nov 26 The extra lab session planned for Monday 12/2 2:15-3:45 will be rescheduled due to cancellation of classes. Postponed 
Nov 20 There won't be a lab session on Friday 11/22. However, there will be an extra one early in the week after the break. 
Nov 11 Chris's office hours next week will be Fri 11/22 9:30-11:00 instead of Tue 11/19. They will be in Eggers 400Q. 
Nov 6 I will not have office hours on Wednesday 11/6 due to travel. 
Aug 19 Welcome! 


Exercise 1 Due 9/4. Math exercise. 
Exercise 2 Due 9/11. Finding and analyzing market equilibria. 
Exercise 3 Due 9/18. The consequences of raising the gas tax in Washington, DC. 
Exercise 4 Due 9/25. An analysis of US restrictions on sugar imports. 
Memo 1 Due 10/7. Policy memo. 
Exercise 5 Due 10/16. Cross subsidies, price controls and indifference curves. 
Exercise 6 Due 10/23. Household equilibrium, utility functions and demand curves. 
Exercise 7 Due 10/30. Evaluating climate change policy. 
Memo 1 Revision Due 11/18. Optional revised policy memo. 
Exercise 8 Due 11/6. Two-period intertemporal choice.  
Exercise 9 Due 11/20. Present value of research on fuel cells. 
Memo 2 Due 12/6. 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.

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.
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 12/10/2019