Economics for Policy Analysis

A Crash Course in Economics Analysis and the Political Economic Philosophy Supporting Free Markets and Free People

Course Outline

I. Mutually Beneficial Exchange

  • Understanding the heart of the argument for free markets and free people

  • The keys that make it work

  • The required role of government

  • What makes it break down​​


II. An Economic Tool Kit for Policy Analysis

  • Supply and Demand Analysis

  • The Roles of Prices and Making it all Work

  1. Transmission of Information

  2. Incentives

  3. Determining the Distribution of Income

  • The implications for policy

III. Special Topics

  • Income inequality, justice and fair systems

  • Government owned businesses

  • Government support for business, technology (e.g., electric cars) or cause (e.g., affordable housing): subsidized risk and private profit

  • achieving collective goals through private  vs public/government arrangementsvalues, culture and maintaining a good social order

  • Government charity

  • Christianity and Political-Economic arrangements

  • price controls:

    • minimum wages

    • rent controls

  • international trade

    • tariffs

    • is free trade the same when one partner isn't free - should we trade with China?

Additional Course Materials

Thoughtful and Challenging Videos

(Videos in blue are for the HIF scholars workshop in DC)

Growth and Institutions


Inequality, Minorities, Capitalism and Freedom

  • Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools

    • 1 hour biographical documentary of a great American economist.​

    • Great on the foundations of freedom and on racial inequality

  • Walter Williams: The State Against Blacks 

    • 1 hour documentary on the role of the state, especially the well-intentioned "welfare" state, in making the situation worse.​

  • Walter Williams' website

Instructional Videos

Economics of Price Controls

  • Rent Controls as an example of price controls generally. Marginal Revolution University video (9:42 min total):

  • Rent Controls Specifically.  Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute Prager U video (2016, 5:12 min total):

About the Course

I developed the idea that I could teach some core tools of economic analysis (namely basic supply and demand analysis) to almost anyone in a short period of time when I started teaching Managerial Economics for adult MBA students at Quinnipiac Unviersity in 2003.  I found that thinking individuals from almost any background could quickly learn and apply the basics and that they all found this infinitely helpful in their lives immediately both at work and in terms of watching the news and thinking about policy issues.

As my own world view has evolved over the years, I began ..

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