Public Policy Analysis

White, Fred C. "An Interactive Learning System for the Economic Analysis of Public Policies." The Journal of Economic Education. 28 (Summer 1997) 222-229.

This article details an interactive system of learning for public policy analysis. The system integrates four key components: team building, intrateam cooperation, interteam negotiation, and economic simulation. Students are actively engaged in the learning process as economic agents in simulated markets. Team building: the class is divided into teams of four to six students, and the teams function as an economic decision-making unit in a series of instructional simulations. Team members perform a variety of roles. Intrateam Cooperation: Students address economic problems through collaborative team efforts, where members give and receive information that contributes to the team goal. Consensus is needed to identify the appropriate direction and final decisions of the team. Interteam Negotiation: Each team identifies its initial position and through negotiations, trade agreements are reached. Economic Simulation: The simulations involve role playing in which the students perform as economic agents in the simulated markets. Further explanations are in article. The exercise is roughly run as follows: the information is introduced by the instructor and then disseminated in handouts. The teams review the instructions, apply economic principles to the problem and make initial decisions. Then predesignated teams are allowed to move around the classroom, negotiation with other teams. When the teams reach agreements through negotiations and report the results to the instructor, a round is completed. The results are reported to the students in the next class period. Policy alternatives and modifications are discussed in the article.