录取学校：University of Chicago Master of Public Policy
1. How should we evaluate a public policy? Can we know that a particular policy is right or wrong?
According to economic principles, people are always faced with trade-offs in their daily life. This is also true in public policy field. As an important tool to allocate social resources, the government needs to consider the trade-offs between efficiency and equality when making public policies. However, due to different preference toward efficiency and equality, different politicians hold different views when evaluating the same public policy. Therefore, it’s hard to make a conclusion about whether a particular policy is right or wrong.
Utilitarian believes that the government's goal is to maximize the social utility of all. It should be right and encouraged if a public policy is beneficial for increasing total social utility. But liberalism believes that the government needs to ensure that society is just and strive to improve the welfare of the poorest people in the society. The public policy should follow the principle of maximin criterion to protect the interests of the lowest income groups. According to libertarianism, as long as the allocation process is just, the distribution result is fair. Public policy should be made to ensure the equality of opportunity rather than equality of result, and the government should not change the distribution result.
In my opinion, it is not appropriate to judge whether a particular policy is right or wrong. Instead, the judging standard should be proper or not. Public policy is a government behavior. As long as this policy helps the government to solve the contradictions and problems that should be addressed, this policy is proper. Taking China’s policy of improving individual income tax threshold from 2000 RMB to 3500 RMB in September 2011 for example, numbers of working class taxpayers declined from 84 million to 24 million, but tax revenue from high-income groups (monthly income more than 37000 RMB) increased in various degrees. Despite this policy resulted in declining work efficiency of high-income groups, it was worthwhile compared with China’s intensified widening gap between the rich and the poor. It can be said that this policy is a decent policy in that it helps government to safeguard social equality and justice.
However, it must be pointed that the government faces different problems and contradictions in different development stages. Policies suitable for current situationmay not be suitable for the past or the future situation. For example, in the early stages of national development without mature market mechanism, the government should first consider allocating the resources with optimum efficiency and then providing minimum social security when making public policy. When the market mechanism was set up and a country accumulated considerable wealth and power, public policy should focus on safeguarding social fairness and justice, preventing income inequality and reducing poverty. In this sense, there is no one absolutely right or appropriate public policy.
Motivation Statement (Masters Only)
You will prepare a brief and well-articulated response to a prompted question regarding your motivation to pursue graduate studies in public policy (300 words).
When I was a graduate student majoring in international politics six years ago, my research direction focused on soft power. I discovered soft power was an invisible attraction and if a country has too many internal problems, the attraction of soft power will be limited. As an emerging economy, while China brings great opportunities on a global scale, it causes a number of domestic problems including a stark urban-rural wealth gap and severe environmental pollution. As I known, Most of these problems are caused by economic policies. If these problems cannot be solved properly, it would be not possible to talk about the influence of Chinese soft power. Therefore, after obtaining my master's degree in2018, I chose to work in fiscal and taxation department and turned my research focus to fiscal and taxation policy.
Fiscal and taxation policy involves the reallocation of social resources and social justice. It is an important factor to many economic issues. In2018, I began working in a district-level tax department where I gained a better understanding of the implementation of tax policy at the grassroots level through direct contact with taxpayers. Two years later, I transferred to a municipal fiscal and tax policy research department where I spent three years learning about China’s fiscal and tax system and its implementation. I also acquired a strong understanding of the economy, finance, and tax, and worked hands in the local government’s fiscal and tax policy formulation, implementation, and analysis. It stimulated my strong desire to conduct public policy research. I dream of becoming an expert in public policy in China. I hope to provide solutions to China’s political, economic, and social issues. This career goal has continued to become clearer with my accumulation of work experience.