In a world where people are increasingly asked to employ tools that cut across disciplines, the PPE major offers an integrated, cross-disciplinary perspective that combines broad and rigorous training in the foundations of three subjects (plus study opportunities in some areas of psychology) with a specialization and research experience in a concentration of choice.
PPE students are free to explore and integrate many relevant disciplines and research areas. They may examine the nature and implications of human decision-making, the nature of distributive justice, the ethical consequences of the competitive market economy, and the dynamic relationships between the economic, political and legal orders. Some examples of research themes that PPE students have investigated are provided below.
Since inception, PPE has been very popular and today it is one of the largest majors in the college. The major is intended to prepare its graduates for careers in public policy and public service, consulting, journalism (reporting on political and economic issues), law and international affairs. It is an excellent pre-law major and it also offers suitable preparation for graduate study in any of the participating disciplines. PPE majors have gone on to some of the nation's most prestigious law and professional schools; to successful careers in business, public service, policy-making and journalism, and to graduate studies in the various sub-fields.
The BeLab is part of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program and reflects its multidiscplinary spirit. Some areas of special interest in the BeLab are social norms, moral heuristics and intuitions, biases, resource division, mutualism, corruption, as well as measures of autonomy and their relation to social change.
Fall 2015 Lectures and Seminars
Openness to Experience and Creativity
Professor of Psychology
Scientific Director, Imagination Institute
Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania
Monday, November 9 , 2015
203 Cohen Hall
The Impossibility of Pure Libertarianism
Head of Department
VU University of Amsterdam
Wednesday, October 14 , 2015
402 Cohen Hall
In its simplest and most abstract form, libertarianism is a theory of political and economic organization which states that once a set of basic rights has been defined and allocated (“self-ownership” in particular), any distribution of resources, goods, and welfare that arises from this initial allocation of rights is just provided no individual rights have been violated. The converse claim is also part of the libertarian doctrine: in order to achieve a just allocation of resources, goods, and welfare, we only need to determine a special set of rules that define for each individual what they may or may not do and the outcomes they can bring about. In a libertarian society (made up of libertarian citizens who adhere to these rules), rights settle most and—depending on the libertarian theory in question—perhaps even all of the relevant issues. We take this to be true for all libertarian traditions, left and right. Any differences between libertarians pertain only to the nature and domain of rights and not to the fact that a rights structure is primary for determining the just society or that the social order is derived solely from a rights structure. The purpose of this paper is straightforward. We pursue the fundamental question as to whether or not a rights structure that represents libertarianism in its purest form is actually possible. In a nutshell: given a set of basic libertarian conditions to be imposed on a rights structure, is such a structure possible?
PPE Is Pleased to Present :
Mobilizing the Young Vote: Direct Mail Voter Guides and Turnout in the Chicago 2015 Mayoral Election
Politics, and Economics Program
Thursday, October 15 , 2015
337 Cohen Hall
Previous studies have shown direct
mail solicitations have a small but significant effect on turnout. It is less
clear, however, what effect direct mail solicitations have on young and racial
or ethnic minority voters. We report the results of a large (N=58,972)
experiment run during the February 24, 2015 municipal election in Chicago where
a random sample of 25,000 young voters—between the ages of 18 and 30—were sent a
voter guide produced by the advocacy organization Chicago Votes containing a
list of endorsements for each of the five candidates for mayor, the position of
each candidate on five salient issues in the campaign, and information helpful
for casting a ballot. We find turnout among the treatment group was 0.9 points
higher than the control group, which did not receive a voter guide in the mail
(33.6% compared to 32.7%, two-tailed p<0.025). We also find, however, that
young voters in Chicago census tracts with above-median household income are
significantly more likely to vote after receiving the voter guide treatment than
voters in lower-income census tracts.