I have been teaching in UCLA Luskin's Master of Public Policy (MPP) program since 2005. In 2016, I was named Professor of the Year, and my course "Arguing with Data" was awarded "Best Course" in 2015 and 2016.
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Public Policy 290: Introduction to Descriptive Data Analysis (Fall)
Students examine current academic research, policy papers, and popular press that use descriptive data analysis, then conduct hands-on data analysis projects. Class meetings include lecture/discussion and workshop sessions. Policy topics covered include understanding long-term trends in income inequality in U.S. and implications of trends in disability insurance (DI) usage for DI and Social Security policy. Practical skills covered include finding data, utilizing online tools to extract data, presenting data effectively (and honestly) in graphs and tables, using Excel and Stata, adjusting for inflation, using regression as descriptive tool, performing regression decomposition, using data to target resources effectively, and detecting and avoiding lies with statistics.
Public Policy 290: The Economics of Education Policy (Fall)
This course introduces students to topics in economics of education policy, with emphasis on K-12. Topics covered include the human capital model; school desegregation; the roles of money, class size, and other inputs in education quality; teacher quality, teacher labor markets, and teacher compensation; school choice; and K-12 school finance with special emphasis on California. Students learn the economic approach to analyzing educational decisions of individuals and education policies. The course emphasizes the role of evidence in education policymaking, developing students' ability to identify and use credible, policy-relevant quantitative analysis. Each session, students discuss and critique methods of at least one study in depth.
Public Policy 269: Health Care Policy and Finance (Winter)
Public Policy 297C: Public Policy Seminar Series (Spring)
Students attend weekly social science research lectures covering range of policy-relevant topics. Class discussion of the research follows the seminar. Students examine the quality and relevance of research findings and make connections between research, the public policy curriculum, and real-world policy problems.