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Quantitative Methods for Policy Evaluation


The main challenge for policy evaluation is to establish a causal link between interventions and outcomes. The objective of this course is to introduce the main approaches used in the evaluation of public policies: randomized evaluations, natural experiments, the regression discontinuity design, selection on observables and difference-in-differences. The course presents strengths and weaknesses of each approach in terms of internal and external validity. During the theory sessions, each approach will be presented and illustrated with specific policies in the areas of labor, health, education and development economics. In the practical sessions, students themselves (with help from the instructor) replicate the results of a widely-cited published study for each evaluation approach.

Course prerequisites
Basic probability and statistics. Undergraduate econometrics.

General Readings and Textbooks
Angrist, J. D. and J.-S. Pischke (2008). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist's companion. Princeton university press.
Burtless, G. (1995). \The case for randomized _eld trials in economic and policy research". In: Journal of economic perspectives 9.2, pp. 63-84.
Cunningham, S. (2018). Causal Inference: the mixtape (V. 1.7).
Deaton, A. (2010). \Instruments, randomization, and learning about development". In: Journal of economic literature 48.2, pp. 424-55.
Duo, E., R. Glennerster, and M. Kremer (2007). \Using randomization in development economics research: A toolkit". In: Handbook of development economics 4, pp. 3895-3962.
Heckman, J. J. and J. A. Smith (1995). \Assessing the case for social experiments". In: Journal of economic perspectives 9.2, pp. 85-110.



Mazzonna F.

Course director

Rellstab S.

Course director

Additional information

Academic year
English, Italian
Master of Science in Economics, Core course, Fundamental knowledges, 1st year