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Unit information: Programme Evaluation in 2020/21

Unit name Programme Evaluation
Unit code ECONM0002
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Valente
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This course will look at a number of econometric approaches to policy evaluation, including social experiments and “natural experiments” (difference-in-differences, instrumental variables, propensity score matching and regression discontinuity design). We will look at the usefulness and limitations of alternative methods in the context of a number of applications, including the minimum wage, welfare-to-work policies and estimating returns to education.


The aim of the course is to introduce students to a number of different approaches used by economists to evaluate government policies.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will become familiar with a wide range of techniques for evaluating public policy ex ante and ex post and they will be able to understand and interpret the results of econometric studies of public policy analysis.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions such as online teaching for large and small group, face-to-face small group classes (where possible) and interactive learning activities

Assessment Details

Coursework (50%) and Online Exam (50%)

Reading and References

There are specific resources for each topic, but the following covers all the methods in the unit:

  • Cameron and Trivedi (2005), “Treatment Evaluation”, chapter 25 in Microeconometrics: Methods and Applications, pp 860-896. Cambridge University Press. Available online from University Library’s website.

Examples of applications are:

Duflo, E., Banerjee, A., Shawn, C. and L. Linden (2007) “Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(3):1235-1264, (see also NBER Working Paper No. 11904, 2005).

Card, D. and Krueger, A. (1994) “Minimum wages and employment: A case study of the fast food industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania”, The American Economic Review 84(4) 772 – 793