Final Exam

Final Exam

Answer each of the following essay questions using your textbook and any assigned reading assignments (i.e., the issue briefs we read for class meetings/makeups). In writing your answers, be sure to include page number citations for each of the concepts you cite from the textbook in order to receive credit for those parts of your answer. You will only receive credit for answers that cite the page number where the concepts you are discussing are discussed in the Wheelan textbook. For each of the listed concepts, you must (a) discuss the concept sufficiently to demonstrate that you understand what it means and (b) cite the page number in the Wheelan textbook where you found it. You must do both of these to receive credit for each part of your answer to the questions below. Read each question carefully to see what you are being asked to do in your answer. You may ask the instructor questions but may not communicate with other students regarding this test. Write your answers on a word processing document and upload them to the dropbox in the assignments folder on D2L.. It is fine to quote language from the textbook and any assigned readings, but if you quote language use quotation marks.

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  1. You hypothesize that a county with a larger tax base from which to draw revenues for schools will produce a population that earns higher incomes than a county with a smaller tax base. How might each of the following concepts fit into a research design to test this hypothesis?

Dependent variable

Independent variable

Control variable

Endogenous variable – affected by the outcome it is being used to explain

Exogenous variable – affected by something outside the model

  1. As a policy analyst for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you are researching ways to measure the health and abundance of wild fish stocks. You are exploring a potential relationship between the health and abundance of wild fish stocks and the quantity of fish caught by sport fishing. Specifically, you hypothesize that the quantity of fish caught by sport fishing may be a good way to assess the health and abundance of wild fish stocks, i.e., more fish caught by sport fishing may mean there is a greater abundance of fish stocks. Explain how the following may be relevant to your analysis.

Bivariate versus multiple regression analysis


Regression coefficient: slope of the regression line

Meaning of sign (positive or negative) of regression coefficient

Statistical significance

  1. Many people in your community are interested in establishing a wilderness area on the outskirts of town. Someone came up with the idea that the town could buy a large tract of land and leave it untouched for generations. The purchase would be funded by borrowing the price with borrowed funds (a public bond) and paid for over a long period of time with tax funds. Explain how the following concepts relate to that idea.


Present discounted value

willingness to pay as a way to value goods or services

Shadow pricing and each of these: contingent valuation, revealed preferences, hedonic market analysis

Social discount rate

Intergenerational issue with social discount rate

  1. You are a policy analyst for the United States Forestry Service. You have been asked to research the benefits that might result from the U.S. Forest Service promoting regular group hikes in the national forests nationwide. There has been a pilot program of regular group hikes by a club in a national forest in the State of Georgia for several years. You want to research this club’s members to see how or if they have benefited in terms of their health or otherwise from participating in the club hikes. Consider how you might design such a research project, considering each of the following in your answer.

Treatment effect


Selection bias (or effect)

Omitted variable

Dropout effect (or survivorship bias)

Evaluator bias

Randomized experiment

  1. You are advising a city on its garbage collection program. The city has had a publicly-owned and operated sanitation department for many years and is considering whether the privatize the service and have it performed by vendors contracted to the city instead. The city has asked you to conduct research comparing public and privatized sanitation services and is offering to fund your collection of data. The city notes there has been an ongoing “turf war” between the Sanitation Department and Parks and Recreation over city services in some locations. In your answer, consider each of the following.

Why can’t government be like a business? (identify and explain at least two reasons)

Mission and effectiveness of institutions

Individual incentives and effectiveness of institutions

Contractible quality – and factors to explain this

Natural experiment

Time-series analysis

Cost-effectiveness analysis


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