The La Follette School of Public Affairs’ first summer public policy course will examine inequalities across various social dimensions with a focus on disparities among racial and ethnic groups.
Assistant Professor Rourke O’Brien will teach Inequality, Race and Public Policy (PA 520), which meets UW–Madison’s Ethnic Studies requirement for undergraduate students. The three-credit course runs from June 19 through July 16.
The course will explore the impact of public policies and programs on the distribution of income, wealth, and opportunity in the United States. It begins with an introduction to key concepts in measuring inequality and poverty and an overview of recent trends. The course will include a critical examination of the role of race in shaping public opinion and public policymaking from key historical moments to the present.
Throughout the course, students will analyze the impact of existing policies as well as critically evaluate the potential impact of proposed policies on inequality. Students will systematically examine how public policy shapes inequality across a range of topical areas, including labor markets, education, taxation, health, housing and criminal justice.
Readings will be drawn from across the social sciences and from a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations with the goal of equipping students with the background and knowledge necessary to actively engage in these ongoing policy debates.