What If? A Series of Public Forums

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center hosted a series of public forums wherein Public Policy Center researchers examine different hypothetical scenarios and their unintended consequences, and present their relevant research. The series is part of The University of Iowa Public Policy Center’s 25th Anniversary celebration year, in fulfillment of part of its mission to engage the public by sharing the expertise and resources of the Public Policy Center and the University of Iowa.


A variety of thought-provoking topics have been chosen according to the Public Policy Center’s areas of research and are casually presented in hopes to stir a conversation with the audience.

The events were free and open to the public, and took place at the Iowa City Public Library.

What If…gas were $10/gallon in two to five years?
This first in the series of four forums examines the unintended consequences of gasoline rising to $10 a gallon in the next two to five years. The public was invited to participate in this guided discussion about the effects on individual travel, consumer choices, and automation of vehicles.


What If…we moved to a sustainable economy/society?
The public was invited to actively engage in this town hall-style debate, in which we examine current and potential alternatives to the state of the economy, environment and society with regards to the role economics plays in shaping the future.  We examine the impact of our current paradigm on income distribution, environmental impact and consumption and what those consequences can be and if there exist alternative paths.


What If… everyone had health insurance?
We discuss the effects of full coverage for everyone: where and when people get care, who will provide their care, and the costs to our economy. Enjoy an open conversation about questions like: Will we end up rationing care? Will people be healthier or sicker? Where will the money come from?


What If… everyone voted?  (Tuesday, April 29, 7:00-8:30pm)
Full voter turnout would have myriad consequences for our electoral system, political campaigns, and representation by government officials. Experts will provide thought-provoking reflections on this scenario to spur further discussion.

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