Public Policy Evaluation

Module code: ECN607

This module offers a grounding in public policy issues at local, regional and global levels, and explains various possible techniques of quantitative evaluation that are commonly used in economics and applied in the ‘real world’. Examples are drawn from health, labour, education, and development economics.

Learning objectives

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • Obtain an in-depth knowledge of the economic models used to analyse public policy areas and an understanding of how these models are used in practice to inform policy debates.
  • Be able to apply the models to real-life examples.
  • Be able to select appropriate techniques to evaluate policy interventions and appreciate their strengths and weaknesses in the context of applications.
  • Develop an expertise in analysing and presenting empirical evidence to inform policy debates.


The syllabus will aim to include the following topics:

Methods for ex-post impact evaluation

  • Randomised control trials (RCT)
  • Matching methods (propensity score matching)
  • Difference-in-difference methods
  • Instrumental variables methods
  • Regression discontinuity methods

Critique of experimental methods

Structural approaches for ex-ante impact evaluation

Teaching methods

Ten two-hour lectures and five one-hour workshops.


The assessment of this module will be by a group assignment (25%) and an unseen exam (75%).

Basic reading

We advise you not to buy books before the module begins, as the reading list may change. If you wish to read in advance, look for these texts in the University library

The following textbooks can be used as background reading:

Khandker, Shahidur R.; Koolwal, Gayatri B.; and Samad Hussain A. (2010), Handbook on Impact Evaluation: Quantitative Methods and Practices. Washington DC: The World Bank

Prerequisites Knowledge of advanced economics at an undergraduate level.

Module leader Dr Mark Bryan

Please note that the leader may change before the module begins

Semester Spring

Credits 15