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Posted at 3:52 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Like public policy? Want to win some money?

By Ezra Klein

In the last day or so, I've been alerted to two competitions that readers of this blog might be interested in. One is for a little money, but might appeal to a lot of you. The other is for a lot of money, but requires more in the way of technical prowess.

The first is from the Hamilton Project. They're offering $25,000 in prize money for the best new thinking on jobs. The official announcement is Monday, but they're letting me post it early because I made the persuasive argument that if I waited, I'd forget to post it at all. So:

The proposal should be no more than 5,000 words, exclusive of any charts, tables or other graphics. It should include an abstract of no more than 250 words that clearly describes the proposal. Neither the proposal nor the abstract should include identifying information about the author or his/her affiliation. A selection committee comprised of Hamilton Project staff and Advisory Council members will judge the papers through a blind process, in which each proposal is identified by an assigned code.

Successful proposals will do the following:

- Estimate the magnitude of employment and productivity gains from the proposal, using data to support those claims;

- Include a rigorous analysis of the costs and benefits of the policy proposal, demonstrating the cost of job creation and the estimated benefits through increased productivity from successful implementation of that policy; and

- Be consistent with The Hamilton Project’s economic strategy, which emphasizes that long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth, by enhancing individual economic security, and by embracing a role for effective government in making needed public investments.

Proposals go to, and "no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, April 1, 2011."

The second competition has a prize bucket of $3 million, but requires you to do some fancy work with hospital claims data. It's from the Heritage Health Providers network and, well, I'll let them explain:

Heritage launched the $3 million Heritage Health Prize with one goal in mind: to develop a breakthrough algorithm that uses available patient data, including health records and claims data, to predict and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. Heritage believes that incentivized competition – one that includes the involvement of those with passionate minds that don't know what can't be done – is the best way to achieve the radical breakthroughs and innovations necessary to reform our health care system...The winning Team will create a predictive algorithm that can identify patients who are at risk for hospital admissions. Once known, health care providers can develop new care plans and strategies to reach patients before emergencies occur, thereby reducing the number of unnecessary hospitalizations.

More info here.

If you don't want to enter any of these prizes but are interested in their existence, my lovely fiancee wrote a good piece examining the sudden popularity of prizes in public policy circles.

By Ezra Klein  | January 28, 2011; 3:52 PM ET
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Next: Will the Medicare cuts in health-care reform stick?


$25,000 is "a little money"? In the context of joblessness and unemployment? I really hope that was just a tasteless joke, Ezra, and you don't actually think $25,000 is "a little money."

Posted by: fswoboda | January 28, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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