Briefing Paper

| January 12, 2016

Briefing Paper

For this briefing paper, you will assume the role of a staff member for an elected policymaking body, such as a city council, a county commission, or a state legislative or Congressional committee. In that role, you have been asked to prepare an economic policy briefing paper for the group.

For your briefing paper, you should select a particular policy. Your policy can be a specific law, ordinance, legislative proposal, regulation, or court decision. You should provide an authoritative source for the policy, for example, a city code, state statute, administrative regulation, or federal law.

The policy topic for this briefing paper is eminent domain. You should look for an “official” statement of the policy. I think eminent domain is a constitutional power. If so, you can use the statement from the Constitution to specify the policy. There have also been Supreme Court rulings on the limits to eminent domain. The most recent Supreme Court ruling would be useful to provide more specificity to the policy.

You might find the following article on eminent domain interesting. The author (Purdy) primarily expresses the views of modern liberals. The author (Somin) that Purdy is discussing is a neoclassical liberal (or at least closest to that position).

This Land Is Our Land


The paper should be approximately 12 pages long, and should focus on a scholarly discussion of the outlined sections. This briefing paper should accurately describe the contesting views of appropriate economic policy. The goal is to both provide the members with concise, accurate summaries of the key theoretical arguments related to a specific policy, and to demonstrate how one perspective gets translated into a political party’s policy position.

Your paper should have the following sections:

I. Introduction: Provide a preview of the contents of the paper.

II. Policy Description:
1. Public problem(s) the policy addresses (don’t mention the policy yet)
2. Policy description

III. Neoclassical Liberal Approach
1. Overview of neoclassical liberalism
2. Neoclassical liberal view of the underlying problem(s) (don’t mention the policy)
3. Neoclassical liberal view of the policy

IV. Radical Approach
1. Overview of radicalism
2. Radical view of the underlying problem(s) (don’t mention the policy)
3. Radical view of the policy

V. Modern Liberal Approach
1. Overview of modern liberalism
2. Modern liberal view of the underlying problem(s) (don’t mention the policy)
3. Modern liberal view of the policy

VI. Political Parties’ Approaches (compare two parties)
1. Political parties’ political economy perspectives
2. Political parties’ views of the underlying problem(s) (don’t mention the policy)
3. Political parties’ views of the policy

VII. Policy Recommendation
Based on the above analyses, what would you recommend with respect to the policy? Continue, revise, or repeal?

VIII. Conclusion: Provide a summary of the contents of the paper.

Note: The section headings in your paper should be APA formatted.

Additional Instructions for the Sections

For each of the political economy perspectives, you will write three sections:

Overview of the Perspectives

For each of the theoretical sections, you should present an overview of the theory from the prospective of advocates of the perspective. For example, for neoclassical liberalism, you should explain how neoclassical liberals would explain their perspective. This means that you should not include criticisms of the perspectives in these sections. If you are unsure if a source is supporting or criticizing one of the perspectives, please check with me.
You should save criticisms of the perspectives for the policy recommendation section that comes next-to-last in the paper. When making your policy recommendation, you should explain how your recommendations relate to the political economy perspectives. Which perspective(s) support your recommendations? Which perspective(s) are inadequate or inappropriate for your policy?
Views of the Underlying Problems

For each of the perspectives, you should explain how proponents of the perspectives view the underlying social problems that policies address. For example, the problems underlying public education policy include providing intellectual skills and information so that people can be productive, successful citizens. The underlying social problems for policies are not problems with the policies themselves. Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of policies comes in the next section, when you discuss how proponents of the perspectives view your policy.

Views of the Policies

In this section, you will explain how proponents of a perspective view the policy you are analyzing. For this section, do not speculate about how proponents view your policy. Instead, read what proponents say about your policy. For example, what do neoclassical liberals say about current education policy? Do they support existing policies? What changes do they want? Again, don’t speculate, find appropriate sources, and report what they say.
Neoclassical Liberal Sources
Some sources of research and commentary from neoclassical liberals are:
American Enterprise Institute:
Cato Institute:
Compare Libertarian Think Tanks:
Competitive Enterprise Institute:
The Heritage Foundation:
Library of Economics and Liberty:
Mises Institute:
In addition, you should examine current libertarian political policy views. Links to several libertarian parties can be found at:

Radical Resources

Radical Political Parties

The Socialist International provides a list of socialist parties at:

Radical Economists

Modern Liberalism Resources

The Brookings Institution:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Center for Economic Policy and Research:
Economic Policy Institute:
Economic Policy Research Center:
Institute for New Economic Thinking:
Joseph Stiglitz:
National Bureau of Economic Research:
New Economics Foundation:
New Economy Coalition:
Paul Krugman:
Resources for the Future:
Robert Reich:
Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis:
Urban Institute:

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