Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jeremiah Dittmar and Prof Mark Schankerman


This course is compulsory on the 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 regression-based methods and cost-benefits analysis used for the quantitative evaluation of public policies. 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 causal 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 design. The final part of the course provides an overview of cost-benefit valuation methods for public policy.


Teaching in this module consists of: 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT; and 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. This year at least for MT, some or all of this teaching may have to be delivered through a combination of virtual webinars, online videos, and virtual classes.

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%)
Policy memo (10%) in the MT.
Policy memo (10%) in the LT.
Continuous assessment (10%) in the MT and LT.

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: 111

Average class size 2019/20: 16

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information