PP402      Half Unit
Quantitative Methods for Public Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Mark Schankerman


This course is compulsory on the Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course introduces several econometric approaches that are widely used for quantitative and empirical evaluation which can be applied to policy-making. We will develop the basic methodology and assumptions underlying each approach, whihc is essential to understand in order to know when each tool can be applied, and when not.  The emphasis is on the practical application of these skills and tools to real-life situations and policy-making interventions. Topics covered include randomised control experiments, difference-in-differences regressions, regression discontinuity design and matching. In the final weeks the course also gives students an overview of the key principles of cost-benefit analysis and how to apply it to real-world scenarios.


Teaching in this module consists of a minimum of 20 hours of lectures and 13.5 hours of seminars and 9 hours of help sessions in the MT. This year some or all of this teaching may have to be delivered through a combination of virtual webinars, online videos, and virtual classes.

Formative coursework

There will be weekly formative course work to give students the opportunity to develop fluency with the tools covered in the course.

Indicative reading

Joshua D. Angrist and Jom-Steffen Pischke, "Mastering Metrics";

James Stock & Mark Watson, "Introduction to Econometrics"

Jeffrey Wooldridge, "Introductory Econometrics".

The given texts are preparatory reading only. A full reading list will be provided at the start of the course.


Coursework (30%) in the MT.
Online assessment (70%) in the LT.

For the online assessment students will have a fixed window to access the assignment questions and to respond to them. No outside research will be required. Questions will be based on topics covered in lectures and seminars.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2019/20: 43

Average class size 2019/20: 15

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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