This course explores the politics of economic policy. The making and implementation of economic policy is fundamentally political. Elected leaders and bureaucrats who create and enforce laws face political constraints and incentives that guide their decisions. An optimal, perfectly designed policy to regulate some economic interaction that would either never pass or is impossible to enforce is not optimal. In practice, it fails to solve any problems. To have productive conversations and debates about the economy and economic policy which guides it, we must understand and take into consideration the role of political institutions and the constraints imposed by the political process underlying economic policy.
In this course, we will focus on several areas of the economy and how governments take actions to regulate contemporary economic behavior. Specifically, we will discuss the creation and regulation of currency, the politics and policies surrounding labor migration and automation, and the rise of the share economy. Students will develop an understanding of the political incentives which underlie policymaking processes and use this background to critically assess contemporary issues related to economic decision-making. For example, what are the implications for the rise of digital currencies and the efficacy of centralized currency management? How have anti-money laundering and counterterrorism regulations affected the flow of international capital and remittances?