News from Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. Read how the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy is making headlines. en-us Tue, 11 Dec 2018 01:40:25 -0800 Drupal Jan 8: Dean Peterson Speaks on "Viewpoint Diversity" in Bay Area The growing “Viewpoint Diversity” Movement on America’s college campuses, and what you can do. Mon, 03 Dec 2018 13:45:00 PST sample

Dean Pete Peterson of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy will be speaking on the growing "viewpoint diversity" movement on America's college campuses at The Liberty Forum Silicon Valley in Mountain View on January 8th. Over the past several years, the School of Public Policy has taken a growing interest in "viewpoint diversity"—the concept that college students benefit not only from greater ethnic and racial diversity in student bodies and faculties, but also by hearing different political views.

A growing body of research has shown that America's colleges and universities are some of the most partisan places in the country, raising important questions regarding basic freedom of speech to the veracity of social science research. In this talk, Peterson will highlight a number of recent studies of professors and students to outline the scope of the challenge as well as lay out practical steps students and alumni can take to encourage more inclusive classrooms and campuses. 

Peterson believes that American higher education is one of the country's most important institutions, but it is doing a poor job of preparing engaged citizens able to do the hard work of engaging others with different opinions.

This event will take place on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at Portuguese Hall 432 Stierlin Rd Mountain View, CA at 7:00 PM.

Registration will begin on Monday, December 10th.

For more information please email:

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Dec 11: Faithful Friendship Amidst Difference An Evening Conversation with Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy in Washington, DC. Fri, 30 Nov 2018 12:45:00 PST Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy

The Pepperdine School of Public Policy and The Trinity Forum will co-host an Evening Conversation entitled, "Faithful Friendship Amidst Difference" with Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy. This event will take place on Tuesday, December 11th, 7 - 9 PM at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The discussion will evaluate the themes of their new book Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country

Join us for what promises to be a fascinating conversation on nurturing friendship across differences and learning to see, know, and love our neighbor.

This event is held in partnership with the Trinity Forum as part of their continuing series on the "Moral Sense in Politics and Policy." 

Location: National Press Club/Ballroom, 529 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20045

Pepperdine alumni can register for free by emailing

Register for this event

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Nov 28: Dennis Prager, The Rational Bible: Exodus Annual Patricia Tagliaferri Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series to demonstrate that the Bible is powerfully relevant to today's issues and consistent with rational thought. Thu, 01 Nov 2018 09:45:00 PDT Dennis Prager Headshot

Join the School of Public Policy on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at 6:30 PM in the Elkins Auditorium for the annual Patricia Tagliaferri Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series with keynote speaker Dennis Prager, founder of PragerU.


Prager's newest book is the first of his five-volume Bible commentary entitled, The Rational Bible: Exodus God, Slavery, and Freedom. While many people may think the Bible—the most influential book in world history—is outdated, Prager's explanation of the book of Exodus will demonstrate that the Bible is not only powerfully relevant to today's issues, but completely consistent with rational thought.


Prager is a best-selling author, columnist, and nationally syndicated radio talk show host based in Los Angeles. His radio show is heard by more than 2 million listeners on 150 stations across the country. A highly sought-after speaker and frequent cable news show guest, Prager has lectured all over the world including Europe, Asia, Israel, and Australia. His New York Times best-selling books include Think a Second Time, Happiness is a Serious Problem, and Still the Best.


**Registration is required, as seating is limited.**


To learn more and register, please visit the event page.

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Nov 14: Has Liberalism Failed? A thought-provoking discussion with Ted McAllister and Patrick Deneen surrounding the themes of Deneen's newly-released book, Why Liberalism Failed. Mon, 29 Oct 2018 09:15:00 PDT Patrick Deneen and Ted McAllister

The School of Public Policy welcomes guests for an evening conversation with Edward L. Gaylord Chair and associate professor of public policy, Ted McAllister and scholar Patrick Deneen for what promises to be a thought-provoking discussion surrounding the themes of Deneen's newly-released book, Why Liberalism Failed. This discussion will take place on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at 6:30 PM, in the Wilburn Auditorium on the Drescher Graduate Campus.


At a time when civic fracture has alienated citizens and fueled a yearning for a strong leader, some have questioned whether our liberal democratic order has contained the seeds of its own demise. Even as material wealth continues to rise, many people feel bypassed by opportunities, estranged from each other, and unmoored from a sense of spiritual purpose or communal obligation. Deneen and McAliister will discuss the nature of our challenge, the prospects for the future of liberalism, and the hope of a renewed civic flourishing.


Deneen, an associate professor of political science and the David A. Potenziani Memorial Chair of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame, serves as acting director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University. With having previously taught at Princeton and Georgetown Universities, he also served as principal Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the Director of the US Information Agency. Deneen has written and edited several books including The Odyssey of Political Theory, Democratic Faith, and Conserving America?, as well as newly-released Why Liberalism Failed. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Perspectives on Political Science and American Political Thought, and is a contributing editor to The American Conservative.


McAllister, an intellectual historian, brings a historical imagination to the public policy curriculum, a perspective not typical of such programs. His training well equips him to press students to ask the foundational moral questions concerning public policy, leading them back to first principles. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian College, he earned his master's degree from Claremont Graduate School before completing his doctoral degree in American intellectual and cultural history at Vanderbilt University. A recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation's Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, he also received the Leland Sage Fellowship as well as several additional grants including one from the Earhart Foundation. The author of a volume entitled Revolt Against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order, he has completed a new textbook on American history entitled The Promise of Freedom: A History of the United States. Among his other publications, he has authored the chapter "Reagan and the Transformation of American Conservatism" in The Reagan Presidency.


Learn more and register for the Has Liberalism Failed? event.


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Public Policy Professor Examines Retirement Saving Behaviors among Hispanic Women Professor Luisa Blanco Raynal examines the types of messaging Hispanic women respond to when served digital Facebook advertising about financial planning for retirement. Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:15:00 PDT In an article published in Behavioural Public Policy, an international peer-reviewed journal focusing on the relationship between behavioral research and public policy, Luisa Blanco Raynal, associate professor of economics and public policy at Pepperdine School of Public Policy, examines the types of messaging Hispanic women respond to when served digital Facebook advertising about financial planning for retirement.

For the nearly two-year-long study, titled “Delivering information about retirement saving among Hispanic women: two Facebook experiments,” Blanco partnered with Luis M. Rodriguez, associate creative director of advertising agency Ogilvy, on two Facebook experiments, the first of which was conducted July 21–25, 2016, and the second April 22–25, 2018. In each instance, Blanco and Rodriguez developed Spanish ad copy specifically targeted to Hispanic women between the ages of 33–44 (Generation X) as well as the younger members of the baby boomer generation between the ages of 44–55. The researchers also selected women who either speak only Spanish or both Spanish and English and reside in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, the top four states with the largest percentages of Hispanics of Mexican origin.

“When I first started researching this topic, I found that a lot of Hispanics don’t have a retirement plan because they don’t plan to retire,” Blanco says. “I became invested in helping Hispanic women learn more about retirement because the married ones are more likely than their husbands to be in charge of their household’s financial and retirement planning.”

During the time frame of each experiment, the women were presented with three types of Facebook ads (translated here into English): Control, which provided a brief message and call to action: “Start to prepare for retirement today;” Treatment 1, which applied an injunctive norm (socially approved behavior) emphasizing peer influence and suggesting peer success: “Many Hispanic women like you already have a plan for retirement;” and Treatment 2, which conveyed an injunctive norm highlighting the importance of family: “Having a plan for retirement protects you and your family.”

Each ad contained a call-to-action link leading users to a mobile-friendly Spanish-language retirement planning website,, specifically designed to capture data for this experiment. Audience responses to the ad copy were measured by click-through rates, post-reaction and post-share data, and page likes. The website’s referral traffic data, filtered separately by each ad, was generated through Google Analytics.

After a detailed analysis of the two experiments’ results, Blanco and Rodriguez discovered that the ad copy featuring peer effects—a strategy that promoted self-empowerment—proved to be the most successful. These results provide invaluable insight to government officials, financial corporations, and researchers aiming to engage Hispanic women in retirement planning.

When examining the results of the two experiments, Blanco and Rodriguez contend in the published paper that the findings were surprising, as “we initially hypothesized that inherent cultural values might have a stronger influence among different racial and ethnic groups than pure peer effects. We were expecting that a message centered on the family would be more effective when talking about retirement planning, given the large literature on the importance of family networks among Hispanics of older ages.”

Blanco further explains that “These results are particularly beneficial for policymakers because they can gear their future campaigns to motivate minorities to prepare for retirement. They can also use this information to address the fact that minorities are less likely to work for employers who offer retirement saving accounts and help increase the number of Hispanic women saving for retirement by showing them that this is a commonplace strategy that they, too, can partake in.”

As a development economist with particular expertise in money management practices among Hispanics, Blanco’s funded research projects explore financial behavior and financial planning for retirement among minorities in the United States. She also leads the Mobile Money Diary Project, which collects data about financial behavior and health among Hispanics in California. Blanco has also conducted research specific to the Latin American region on issues related to economic development and policymaking, such as institutions, democracy, political instability, crime, capital accumulation, capital flows, financial development, inequality, and natural resources.  

Her work has been published in journals such as Journal of Consumer Affairs, World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Oxford Development Studies, Southern Economic Journal, and Latin American Research Review, among others.

Blanco’s latest research, recently posted in the Pepperdine School of Public Policy Working Papers series, conducted a community based randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of an educational intervention promoting retirement saving among predominantly low- and moderate-income Spanish-speaking Hispanics who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement accounts. The intervention provided participants with key retirement and financial planning information in Spanish and encouraged participants to open my Retirement Accounts (myRA), a starter retirement savings account created by the United States Department of the Treasury for those whose employers do not offer retirement savings programs.

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Dr. James Prieger to Present at the 86th International Atlantic Economic Conference Dr. Prieger presenting his paper on "Tax evasion and illicit trade before and after a tobacco tax increase." Wed, 10 Oct 2018 11:45:00 PDT James Prieger

Dr. James Prieger, professor of public policy, will present his research paper entitled, "Tax evasion and illicit trade before and after a tobacco tax increase" at the 86th International Atlantic Economic Society (IAES) Conference in New York. Prieger and co-author Jonathan Kulik, NYU, examine survey data from California to investigate smokers’ responses to recently increased cigarette excise-tax rates. The data collected suggest that while some smokers reduced their smoking behavior due to the tax increase, various ways to evade and avoid taxes--including illicit market activity--also increased. This conference will host academic researchers in the fields of economics, business and finance. To learn more about this conference, visit the IAES website.

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School of Public Policy Assistant Dean Selected for Inaugural Coro Lead LA Fellowship Designed for rising and established executives, change-makers, thought leaders, and innovators, Assistant Dean and Adjunct Faculty Carson Bruno selected as one of 38. Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:00:00 PDT Assistant Dean Carson Bruno

Malibu, CA—Following a rigorous selection process, Coro Southern California selected Pepperdine School of Public Policy Assistant Dean, Carson Bruno (MPP ’12), as one of 38 for its inaugural Coro Lead LA Fellowship Program.


Lead LA—designed for rising and established executives, change-makers, thought leaders, and innovators in Southern California—will use Los Angeles as its classroom for lessons that can only be provided through first-hand experiences. Fellows will come away with a deeper understanding of themselves, the region, the power players, and the issues that all work in concert to create the unique fabric of Greater Los Angeles. Over the course of this nine-month immersive dive into the city, Fellows will gain the tools and experiences necessary to lead and direct change within their own organizations.


“Coro Southern California aims to strengthen the leadership fabric of the region and we are energized to work with this inaugural cohort of passionate and dedicated leaders from across sectors” said Jenny Vazquez-Newsum, Vice President of Leadership Programs and Training. “We look forward to all that this group will accomplish in these next nine months of Coro Lead LA and well beyond the program’s end.”


Fellows will meet regularly from September to May to engage in leadership trainings, personal reflections, regional and cross-sector networking, policy issue exploration, and civic engagement activities, all using Coro’s unique collaborative-style education process. Fellows have been selected to reflect the diverse nature of Greater Los Angeles, focusing not just on demographics, but also viewpoint diversity and professional experiences—all aspects also at the core of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy’s academic programs.


“I’m beyond excited to join the inaugural Lead LA fellowship cohort,” said Assistant Dean Bruno. “Lead LA will give me the opportunity to further my personal, leadership, and policy education, while also highlighting the School of Public Policy’s uniqueness. Los Angeles has great potential and with great leaders, it can surpass that potential. Lead LA will prepare those great leaders, just as the School of Public Policy has been doing for over 20 years.”

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School of Public Policy to Host "The Future of American Retirement" in Washington, DC From California to Washington, DC, this discussion will address protecting taxpayers from the politics of public pension accounts. Mon, 17 Sep 2018 11:30:00 PDT sample

Washington, DC—On September 25, 2018, the Pepperdine School of Public Policy 
(SPP) will host “The Future of American Retirement: Protecting Taxpayers from the Politicizing of Public Pension Accounts” event and discussion. This event will take place at Pepperdine University’s Washington, DC, campus at 12 PM EST (9 AM PST). 
Pete Peterson, dean of SPP, will moderate the event and panelists will discuss on the state of the public pension systems in the US. Speakers include policy experts: former Connecticut State Treasurer Christopher Burnham, Georgetown University’s research professor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Senior Fellow in Business & Economics at Pacific Research Institute’s Dr. Wayne Winegarden, University of Chicago’s Michael Belsky, and Brookings Institution’s Hon. Joshua Gotbaum. 
With more than six trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, the American public pension and retirement system is in need of dramatic changes to be able to serve future generations. Movement has taken place from California to New York with attempts to push public pension funds to divest from certain sectors. This move could arguably politicize pension funds and violate a pension fund’s fiduciary duty to generate optimal returns for retirees. The panel will address these issues and others on the state of public pensions today. 
Space for this event is limited. For additional information about this event and to register, visit our event page. 
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Watch: Dr. Luisa Blanco- Mobile Money Diary Project School of Public Policy professor measures the link between financial well-being and mental health. Thu, 30 Aug 2018 15:15:00 PDT sample

Dr. Luisa Blanco, associate professor of public policy, served as Visiting Senior Scholar at the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis this summer. Her research is highlighted in this Institute's featured videos. She is currently working on the Mobile Money Diary Project at the Institute—the first of its kind in the United States. Blanco will conduct a six-month study among Hispanics in California to measure the link between financial well-being and mental health by using a mobile app to collect data. 

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School of Public Policy Hosts Constitution Day: "Making Freedom Last" William E. Simon examines the role of religion in sustaining our republic. Fri, 27 Jul 2018 10:30:00 PDT [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"6213","attributes":{"alt":"Pepperdine School of Public Policy Building","class":"media-image","height":"300","style":"width: 465px; height: 300px;","width":"465"}}]]

Join the School of Public Policy on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, for a Constitution Day lecture, “Making Freedom Last: The Role of Religion in Sustaining Our Republic,” at noon in the Wilburn Auditorium with William E. Simon, Co-Chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation and economics professor at University of California, Los Angeles.

The Founders knew that winning the War of Independence was only the first step in securing our republic. Certainly they needed to give order to our new-found freedom, as they did through our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But their hardest task was to find a way to sustain our liberty, which is the ongoing duty of each generation, including our own. What role does religious faith play in preserving our free republic?

William E. Simon is a visiting professor at the UCLA School of Law and Department of Economics and a professor at the University of Southern California in the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. A recipient of Pacific Research Institute's Baroness Thatcher Liberty award, he has received numerous honorary degrees including one from Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. Entering the political arena in 2001 as a candidate for governor of California, Simon won the Republican primary in an election considered one of the greatest come-from-behind victories in state politics. An oft-quoted media analyst, Simon contributes his public policy expertise in radio and television appearances on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. His op-ed articles are published in many of the nation's leading newspapers.

Read more and register for this event.

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Dr. James Prieger Ranks in the Top 10 Percent of Authors on the Social Science Research Network Read the most downloaded article on microeconomic impacts of e-business. Tue, 17 Jul 2018 08:30:00 PDT James Prieger

Dr. James Prieger, professor of public policy, currently ranks in the top 10 percent of authors on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the most prominent repository for papers in economics and other social sciences. His recent articles include topics on cigarette taxes, illicit trading, tax evasion, and the growth of broadband access to the Internet. With nearly 700 downloads, Prieger’s article entitled, “The Microeconomic Impacts of E-Business on the Economy,” serves as the top download to date. Read more research articles on SSRN written by Prieger, here.

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Pepperdine School of Public Policy to Host 2018 Commencement The ceremony will take place at Alumni Park in Malibu on April 20, at 10:30 AM. Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:45:00 PDT The Pepperdine University School of Public Policy spring 2018 commencement ceremony will take place at Alumni Park in Malibu on Friday, April 20, at 10:30 AM. The event will bestow an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree upon Sally C. Pipes.

Pipes is president and chief executive officer of the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco-based think tank founded in 1979.

Pipes addresses national and international audiences on healthcare and has been interviewed on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, 20/20, Dateline, The Dennis Miller Show, The O’Reilly Factor, The Today Show, and other prominent programs. She was featured in the special one-hour Fox documentary, Live Free or Die in New Hampshire, which focuses on the importance of innovation in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

She writes a biweekly healthcare column, “Piping Up,” for Her healthcare opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today. She has published widely on the Affordable Care Act and published her latest book, The Way Out of Obamacare, in January 2016.

Pipes served as one of mayor Rudy Giuliani’s four healthcare advisors in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. She has participated in prominent public forums, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Oversight Committee, Senate HELP Committee, and the California, Maine, and Oregon legislatures. Pipes also participates in key radio shows nationwide, including The Dennis Prager Show, The Jerry Doyle Show, and The Lou Dobbs Show.

She received the Roe Award at the 2004 annual meeting of State Policy Network. In 2005 Human Events named her one of the “Top 10 Women in the Conservative Movement in America.” She was also featured in a new book, Women Who Paved the Way, as one of 35 most outstanding women in business in the nation.

Pipes is the founder and chair of the board of the Benjamin Rush Institute, a Federalist Society-type organization for medical students across America.

For additional information, visit the School of Public Policy Graduation website.

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Pepperdine School of Public Policy Partners with #1 Ranked Dispute Resolution Program to Offer New Specialization Bringing "the public back into public policy" through one of America's first Master of Public Policy specializations in dispute resolution. Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:15:00 PDT sample

Pepperdine University School of Public Policy (SPP) announces a partnership with America’s top-ranked mediation and dispute resolution program–Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution–to create a new Dispute Resolution specialization within its Masters of Public Policy (MPP) degree. This new program will begin enrolling students this Fall (2018).

The new specialization within the MPP degree rounds out a dispute resolution certificate program and joint degree with the Straus Institute. The new specialization makes Pepperdine one of America’s only graduate policy programs to offer such a concentration within its MPP, and the country’s only joint MPP/MDR program.

While unique, Pete Peterson, dean of the School of Public Policy, sees the new program as being consistent with the School’s broader curriculum. “We often say that we’re a school committed to ‘bringing the public back into public policy,’” Peterson said. “This new specialization–with its focus on how we can solve our public challenges in more collaborative ways–is a logical extension of this mission.” Dean Peterson added that the creation of this new specialization is particularly timely, “We’re living in an era known for its polarization–especially in the public square. Through this coursework, we intend to prepare leaders with both policy expertise, and the skills to work across differences–whatever they may be.”

In partnering with the University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, the School of Public Policy joins America’s top-ranked mediation and dispute resolution program (per the U.S. News & World Report), while SPP is ranked in the top-ten MPP programs in the Western United States.

The Straus Institute is also excited about this new collaboration, seeing it as a natural extension of their highly regarded educational programs. Executive Director Thomas Stipanowich observed, “For years we’ve been training policy makers to be better at resolving conflicts. This new relationship with the School of Public Policy provides a comprehensive approach to educating leaders across the public, private, and civic sectors.”

For more information, contact Carson Bruno, assistant dean of admission & program relations.

School of Public Policy
Listen: Dean Peterson on the Importance of Local Elections | The Ed Martin Movement Peterson shared how hard it can be to get people to vote and why local elections are even more important than national ones. Tue, 03 Apr 2018 10:00:00 PDT sample

Pete Peterson, dean of the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, shares how hard it can be to get people to vote and why local elections are even more important than national ones.

This segment originally aired on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, during the first hour of The Ed Martin Movement. You can hear The Ed Martin Movement every weekday from 3-5pm on 1380 and 105.3 The Answer. Find out more about Ed Martin at Listen to the segment, here

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SPP Welcomes Economist Dr. Anna Choi as the James Q. Wilson Visiting Professor of Public Policy Choi has served as an analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris, France, since 2015. Tue, 27 Mar 2018 08:45:00 PDT sample

Dean Pete Peterson has announced that health economics expert Dr. Anna Choi will serve as the James Q. Wilson Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.

Choi has served as an analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris, France, since 2015. She has also held roles in the Directorate for Education and Skills as part of the Young Professionals Program and the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions, and Cities.  As an analyst/economist at the OECD, Choi contributed towards different projects and publications such as the PISA 2015 report on students' well-being, OECD working paper on emotional health and mental well-being trends, and country review report on engaging employers for apprenticeship opportunities at the local level in Australia.

“We're very excited to welcome Dr. Choi to Pepperdine as our James Q. Wilson Visiting Professor,” noted Peterson. “She brings a terrific background in healthcare and education policy with international experience that will be very helpful for our students considering careers in these fields." Peterson added that "on a more personal note, she really understands what makes us unique as a graduate policy program, and will be an essential part of our growth into a more nationally-recognized school.”

Choi received a PhD in policy analysis and management from Cornell University with a focus on health economics, a MPP from College of William and Mary, and BA in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focus is primarily on health and behavioral economics and to better understand how policy changes can alter individual's outcomes and behaviors.  Choi has forthcoming articles in Health Economics and the American Journal of Health Economics on topics such as health disparities across education and the role of differential reporting error, and how legalization of medical marijuana can affect individuals' cigarette consumption after the policy changes.

"I'm very excited to be joining the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. I feel very welcomed by the staff, faculty, and students and I look forward to being part of such a dynamic and passionate community this fall.”

Choi will teach the core course in applied research methods in public policy in the fall semester and two elective courses in the spring. 

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