Free Economics Course for Activists and Political Staffers

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER-A free, eight-week course on the Economic Consequences of Government Policies and Regulation, fully funded by the Charles Koch Foundation and designed by me, Cal State Northridge economist Shirley Svorny, will run for eight Saturdays from Oct. 4 to Nov. 22 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. on the CSUN campus.  

Brunch is included. Guest speakers will participate; most will be economists with an interest in public policy.  Students will be assigned light reading prior to each meeting. 

This course is an introduction to policy analysis using the tools from the discipline of economics. Economics is a social science with a model of human behavior that can be used to predict the consequences of public policies and regulations. This is sometimes referred to as the economic way of thinking. 

Often policies are put in place for a purpose, but the structure of the policy or regulation gets in the way of achieving the hoped-for outcome. 

This course is designed to help program participants anticipate the consequences of policy initiatives. 

The course will also introduce students to the research findings of economists who have worked to isolate the actual effects of existing policies and regulation. 

The objective is to expose individuals with an interest in public policy – including community activists, political staffers, students studying political science, and voters – to the economic way of thinking. 

Oct. 4

The Basics of Economic Policy Analysis

Oct. 11

Why is healthcare so expensive in the U.S.?

Oct. 18

Social Security, Medicaid, Pensions: Can we make good on the promises?

Oct. 25

Trade and Immigration

Nov. 1

The Contribution of Public Institutions to Private Society

Nov. 8

How to be a Careful Consumer of Economic Information

Nov. 15

Policies for a Prosperous Populace (labor market policies, environmental policies, as examples)

Nov. 22

The Great Recession: Financial Regulation and the Banking System

Each session will include a one-hour lecture, a one-hour brunch with discussion among the participants, and a moderated one-hour group discussion. The cost of parking in a parking lot on the Cal State Northridge campus is $6.00 per day. Street parking is also available in the area surrounding the campus. The campus is located at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330.

Twenty-five participants will be selected. To sign up, contact Professor Svorny at [email protected] or 818-677-4504 (leave a message).


(Shirley Svorny is a Cal State Northridge economist and educator.)





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Vol 12 Issue 73

Pub: Sep 9, 2014