Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jeremiah Dittmar and Dr Gregory Fischer


This course is compulsory on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management and MPA in Public and Economic Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.


Students must have completed Introduction to Quantitative Methods for the MPA Programme (EC408).

The course has no formal pre-requisites. A familiarity with basic statistical concepts and basic calculus are very useful. These topics are reviewed during the pre-sessional course of the MPA programme (EC408). Students not participating in the pre-sessional course need to provide evidence of comparable prior knowledge.

Course content

The course introduces students to the quantitative evaluation of public policies with the help of regression based evaluation methods, cost-benefit analysis and computable general equilibrium modelling. The first six weeks of the course introduce students to basic multiple regression analysis including hypothesis testing, modelling of non-linear relationships, and dummy variables. From week 7 of MT the course covers a number of regression based evaluation methods to assess the casual effectiveness of policy interventions. These include the use of randomized experiments, natural or quasi-experiments, panel data, difference-in-differences estimation, instrumental variables, matching and regression discontinuity designs. The final part of the course provides an overview over cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis and an introduction to the use of computable equilibrium models to assess policy interventions.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will complete weekly problem sets. Some of these will be marked to provide indicative assessment.

Indicative reading

Particularly useful textbooks are James Stock & Mark Watson, Introduction to Econometrics; and Jeffrey Wooldridge, Introductory Econometrics. The material in the textbooks will be complemented with recent research papers and chapters from other books. A full reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the course.


Exam (65%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Coursework (25%) and project (10%) in the LT.

Students will complete a set of data analysis exercises during Michaelmas and Lent Term.  Three of these exercises will be selected for assessment and will together count for 25% of the overall mark. A group project, to be developed and presented, counts for 10% of the overall mark. A final three-hour examination counts for the remaining 65% of the overall mark.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2012/13: 92

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 81.8%



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