PPE 402: Research in PPE (Fall 2019)

If you sign up through Penn in Touch, email the instructor below your resume and a paragrpah about your interest to find out more about each project!

William Berger (zberger@sas.upenn.edu), PPE 402-301

This research seminar looks to select between four and five motivated and hard-working students to contribute original research on the topic of inequality in America. Inequality is one of the most pressing political topics of the moment, with every aspiring presidential candidate discussing this seminal issue. Building off a grant, we will look at original survey data to generate conjectures about inequality in political life and its relevance to the extant literature in Political Science. Students are expected to be willing to commit to a Fall and Spring sequence, as the ultimate ambition will be to publish our findings in a peer-reviewed publication.

This two semester course offers a wonderful opportunity to conduct collaborative research in a low-stakes setting, with the end-goal of securing a publication. This course also counts towards any PPE Thematic Concentration, fulfilling a Capstone requirement.

Weiwei Tasch, PPE 402-302

When do choices made in the pursuit of self-interest also promote social interest? In this course, we will investigate the choices that individuals make as they cope with scarcity and allocate limited resources into an account that provides equal payoffs among individuals. We will discover how different rules may impact the incentives that influence and reconcile individual choices, using social dilemmas that feature public goods games. A focus of this course is to learn about learning, using scientific methods. You will work in a team of peers to develop a project. You will study current field and laboratory experiment literature on public goods, practice developing research questions, conduct a theoretical analysis and create an experimental design; then implement the design, and draw inferences from the data. At the end of this course, you will be ready to address the seminar’s key guiding question, using the knowledge that you generate.

Giuseppe Danese (gdanese@sas.upenn.edu), PPE 402-303

The objective of this course is to study the gift--an invariant of human societies throughout history. By the end of this course, students will appreciate the philosophical, political and economic implications of gift exchange. We will start with an extensive survey of the anthropological records of gift exchange in traditional societies. We will then proceed to the current evidence regarding gift exchange in the healthcare sector, labor market, and the family. Finally, we will contrast the commodity and the gift paradigms, and discuss the case for keeping some transactions under one or the other domain.