GV4G1      Half Unit
Applied Quantitative Methods for Political Science

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Valentino Larcinese


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in 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.

This course is capped at 1 group. The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 1 October 2019. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 2 October 2019.


A good knowledge of statistics and of the generalized linear model at the level of MY452.

Course content

This course provides an introduction to current empirical research in political science with a focus on methods for causal inference. The 2 hours weekly meetings consist of mix lectures and tutorials.The lectures will present the techniques and illustrate their applications by making extensive use of the most up-to-date empirical literature. The tutorials will give feedback on formative work 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 instrumental variables, panel data, differences-in-differences, regression discontinuity and several applications to political science. 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 to the lecturer.

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 summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 31
Merit 28.6
Pass 33.3
Fail 7.1

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: 16

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information