This course explores questions surrounding the role of public policy in both alleviating and exacerbating inequality in the United States. This is a massive subject—impossible to comprehensively cover in one semester. Instead, we’ll take “deep dives” into four policy issues related to issues of equality, beginning with wealth inequality and mass incarceration. The last two policy issues we discuss will be proposed and voted on by the students. This course is a seminar format; students share responsibility with their instructor, for deciding on, facilitating understanding of, and generating critical reactions to, the course content. For your final paper in this course, you will write a policy brief. This assignment asks you to research the consequences of a piece of U.S. public policy for citizens’ economic status, educational attainment, participation in elections, or some other outcome of interest, and to make a recommendation for reform.


4 sh

Course Types

Advanced studies


  • Spring
  • Fall

Previous Course Number

PST 312

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