Not available in 2019/20
PP4E4      Half Unit
Analytic frameworks for policy evaluation

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Christine Cote and Prof Richard Bevan


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MiM), Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MBA Exchange, 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), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), 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 with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Priority will be given to students from the Department of Management's MSc programmes for any outside option spaces.


Students must have previously studied microeconomics.

Course content

The course will focus on concepts and cases relevant to understanding how to assess costs and benefits of policy options to enable governments to make hard choices. This entails accounting for: costs and benefits across different criteria and at different times, risk and uncertainty, and distributional effects; and designing evaluation to relate to the political process of making decisions.

The course examines three methods of evaluationl: cost benefit analysis (CBA), cost effectiveness analysis (CEA), multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA).  It explains the principles of each method and examines case studies to show their strengths and weaknesses. The aim is for students to learn that, for policy analysis, that the concepts of micro-economics are necessary but not sufficient by relating the issues that emerge from the case studies to major intellectual arguments of the 20th Century.  These are arguments over the nature of science, positivism, power, efficiency, equity, and justice. The objective is for students to learn what characterises policy analysis that is likely to succeed or fail in enabling governments to make hard choices.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 pieces of coursework in the MT.

A presentation as a member of a seminar group in the second week of term.

A detailed essay plan on two pages with introduction, one key paragraph and conclusion written in full on the principle of using markets to assess costs and benefits and problems with this approach.

Indicative reading

The course text is D M Hausman and M S McPherson, Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy and Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Extracts from standard texts on methods of economic appraisal:

- HM Treasury, The Green Book. Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government, TSO, 2011

- A Boardman, D Greenberg, A Vining, D Weimer, Cost-Benefit Analysis: concepts and practice, (4th Edition) Harlow: Pearson Education, 2014

- P Goodwin, G Wright, Decision Analysis for Management Judgment (5th edition) Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 2014

Material on cases studies including:

- N Stern, Why are we waiting?: The logic, urgency, and promise of tackling climate change, MIT Press, 2015.

Extracts from classic works of leading scholars including:

- J Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Oxford University Press, 1971

- T S Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd edn), University of Chicago Press, 1972

- IMD Little, A Critique of Welfare Economics, Oxford University Press, 1973

- T C Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict, Oxford University Press, 1973

- KR Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, Routledge and Kegan Paul (fourth edition), 1973

- R Nozick, Anarchy Sate and Utopia, Blackwell, 1974

- N Daniels, Just health care. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990

- D W Hands, Reflection without Rules, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001

- S Lukes, Power: A Radical View, 2nd edn, Palgrave, 2005.

Extracts from official reports and published papers.


Essay (50%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Group presentation (20%) and policy brief (30%) in the MT.

The essay will be a critique of the methods used in a case study relevant to an issue in the student’s country.

There will be four group presentations as a member of a seminar group in the weekly seminars.

There will be a policy brief for a minister on a hard choice.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills