GV4G1      Half Unit
Applied Quantitative Methods for Political Science

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Valentino Larcinese


This course is available on the MRes Political Science and MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


A good knowledge of statistics and of the generalized linear model at the level of MI452.

Course content

This course provides an introduction to current empirical research in political science with a focus on methods for causal inference. The lectures will present the techniques and illustrate their applications by making extensive use of the most up-to-date empirical literature. The seminars (tutorials) will be conducted in a computer room and will provide an opportunity to learn how to apply the methods with the statistical software Stata. After reviewing the rationale for simple OLS estimation, particularly focussing on the conditions for a causal interpretation of the coefficients, the course will cover matching estimators, instrumental variables, panel data, differences-in-differences, regression discontinuity, quantile regression. Students will be stimulated to think in experimental terms and the main theme will be how to replicate or get close to the experimental ideal of natural sciences by using non-experimental observational data..


20 hours of lectures in the LT.

Formative coursework

There will be two pieces of formative work to be submitted collectively to the lecturer in the form of short essays. Students will be divided into groups of 4-5 people (groups change each time). Each group will receive a dataset and will be asked to use some specific methods to answer an assigned question.

Indicative reading

Most readings will be journal articles. The main references for the methods will be:

Thad Dunning: Natural experiments in the social sciences, Cambridge University Press 2012

Angrist & Pischke: Mostly Harmless Econometrics, Princeton University Press 2009.

Stock & Watson: Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson 2007 (Second edition)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information