One of the major differences between SIEPR and other institutes or centers is the emphasis placed on training undergraduate and graduate students. SIEPR plays an important role in training students for careers in economic policy evaluation. A large percentage of the budget supports graduate students as research assistants to SIEPR scholars. These research “assistantships” are more than just jobs for graduate students; they provide the training for the next generation of policy economists. SIEPR also provides dissertation fellowships for outstanding students to complete their PhD degrees. SIEPR faculty train, educate, and support PhD students as future economic policy analysts.
The SIEPR Policy Forum has two objectives. The first is to examine a serious policy problem/issue, with an emphasis on non-partisan and effective solutions. The second is to expose and involve Stanford students in the in-depth economic policy analysis of the leading issues of the day. Each SIEPR Policy Forum also provides the opportunity for the institute to reach out across the Stanford campus to relevant experts in the subject area and to policymakers working on the topic.
SIEPR’s management of the Public Policy Program gives students the skills and knowledge necessary for understanding the policy process and provides an interdisciplinary course of study in the design, management, and evaluation of public-sector programs and institutions. The undergraduate major in public policy is useful as preparation for employment as an analyst in government agencies or business; as a foundation for postgraduate professional schools in business, education, law, and public policy; and as preparation for graduate study in the social sciences, especially economics, political science, and sociology. The recent addition of a graduate program, offering an MPP or an MA degree, has allowed advanced students from across the university to integrate policy skills into their primary program of study. SIEPR researchers who are associated with the Public Policy Program include Timothy Bresnahan, John Cogan, Judith Goldstein, Lawrence Goulder, Nicholas Hope, Anjini Kochar, Tom MaCurdy, Eva Meyersson Milgrom, Roger Noll, Bruce Owen, Mitchell Polinsky, James Sweeney, Barry Weingast, and Frank Wolak.
The public policy program, which emphasizes economic and quantitative analysis of public policy, has long been a popular major at Stanford. The program will graduate approximately 25 students in the coming academic year. In addition to microeconomics and econometrics, the program’s core includes courses in political science, organization theory, ethics, and philosophy.