Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jeremiah Dittmar and Dr Gregory Fischer


This course is compulsory on the Master of Public Administration. This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po) and MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo). This course is not available as an outside option.


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 and cost-benefit analysis. The course introduces students to basic multiple regression analysis including hypothesis testing, modelling of non-linear relationships, and dummy variables. From there, 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 of cost-benefit valuation methods for public policy.


20 hours of lectures and 11 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Additionally a 90 minute drop-in support class runs in weeks 2-11 of MT and LT.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

Particularly useful textbooks are Joshua D. Angrist and Jom-Steffen Pischke, "Mastering Metrics"; 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 (60%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.
Coursework (30%) in the MT and LT.
Presentation (10%) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2016/17: 68

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 85%



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