Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jeremiah Dittmar and Prof Mark Schankerman



This course is compulsory on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact and 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.

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. 2 hours of lectures 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 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 summer exam period.
Presentation (10%) and policy memo (10%) in the LT.
Policy memo (10%) in the MT.
Continuous assessment (10%) in the MT and LT.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information