PP402      Half Unit
Quantitative Methods for Public Policy

This information is for the 2023/24 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, which is essential to understand 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 regression analysis, hypothesis testing, randomised control experiments, difference-in-differences regressions, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity design.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 37 hours across Winter Term. 

Formative coursework

Each week students will complete problem sets that will give the opportunity to develop fluency with the tools covered in the course. These will be reviewed in class seminars. 

Indicative reading

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

James Stock & Mark Watson, "Introduction to Econometrics"

Scott Cunningham, "Casual inference: the Mixtape"

Jeffrey Wooldridge, "Introductory Econometrics".

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


Exam (65%, duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes) in the January exam period.
Problem sets (10%), policy memo (15%) and group assignment (10%) in the AT.

The exam will take place in January and will be in-person and invigilated. 

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 29
Merit 28.4
Pass 27.8
Fail 14.8

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2022/23: 115

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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