Hard Choices In Public Policy HW

    Hard Choices In Public Policy HW

    Length: 1000 words (± 10%). Your bibliography is not part of your final word count.

    Minimum Sources: 6 (readings do not count as sources)


    Pick a policy issue and explain why that is a public policy problem. Explain the possible opposition to your problem definition. Explain why we should spend taxpayer money and dedicate time and energy to solve this public policy problem.


    • Define your problem narrowly. Do not pick an issue that is overly broad such as “health care is a problem in the US”. Narrow the problem to a manageable subset such as “access to affordable health care for young (18-24) people is a problem.”
    • Use precise language. Avoid ambiguous terms. Be straightforward in your statements.
    • Use evidence to back your claims. Do not take it for granted that everyone would agree about your take on the issue. Evidence should include academic research and data.
    • Present your data effectively. Use charts, graphs, tables to present the evidence you have collected. Always report the source of your data.
    • Structure your document. Make sure that it follows a logical progression. A quick two-line description of its contents can be very useful.
    • Address the best possible opposition to your problem definition.


    • Do not bake the solution into your problem definition. Example: if you say that “we do not spend enough money for k-12 education”, then the obvious solution is “increase spending”.
    • Do not obfuscate the issue. Example: if you define a problem in terms of fairness, you must explain what you mean by ‘fairness’. Your definition of hard-to-measure concepts could be very different from your audience’s.
    • Do not make evidence-free assertions.
    • Do not use unreliable sources: trace the evidence back to the primary source.


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