PS470E      Half Unit
Policy Appraisal and Impact Assessment

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Séverine Toussaert, QUE.5.12


This course is available on the Executive MSc in Behavioural Science. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is one of two options.

Course content

This course aims to introduce students to the main concepts and tools of policy appraisal and project impact assessment. The course covers the following topics: 1) Architecture of Cost-Benefit Analysis for market and non-market goods; 2) Adjustments for time discounting, risk and uncertainty; 3) Elicitation of monetary values through revealed preference methods; 4) Stated preference methods: contingent valuation and QALYs; 5) The subjective well-being approach to valuation. The course offers practical examples and applications to key areas of public policy, such as health and the environment.



17 hours and 30 minutes of lectures and 5 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Indicative reading

• HM Treasury (2011) The Green Book: Appraisal and policy evaluation in central government. London, UK.

• Gruber J. and Koszegi B. (2008) A Modern Economic View of Tobacco Taxation. Paris: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

•  Cohen P., Hahn R., Hall J., Levitt S., and Metcalfe R. (2016) Using Big Data to Estimate Consumer Surplus: The Case of Uber, NBER Working Paper.

•  Gibbons S. and Machin S. (2003) Valuing English Primary Schools. Journal of Urban Economics, 53, 197-219.

•  Atkinson G. et al. (2008). Are We Willing to Pay Enough to ‘Back the Bid’? Urban Studies, 45, 419-444.

•  Carson, R. (2012). Contingent Valuation: A Practical Alternative When Prices Aren’t Available. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26, 27-42.

• Diamond P.A. and Hausman J.A. (1994), “Contingent valuation: Is some number better than no number?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8: 45-64.

•  Dolan P. (2011). Thinking about health and valuing QALYs. Health Economics, 20, 1407- 1416.

•  Dolan P. & Kahneman D. (2008) Interpretations of utility and their implications for the valuation of health. Economic Journal, 118, 215-234.

•  Gruber, J.H., and Mullainathan S. (2005), “Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier?”, B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Advances 5 (1): 1-43.


Take home exam (100%) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills