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Unit information: Policy Experiments in 2020/21

Unit name Policy Experiments
Unit code EFIMM0037
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Burgess
Open unit status Not open

ECONM1010 Microeconomics;

ECONM1022 Econometrics



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


This unit will provide an introduction to the increasingly important area of using field experiments to evaluate policy and to test economic theory.

The unit will review the benefits and potential limitations of using field experiments (compared to other evaluation tools used by economists).

It will introduce students to key issues in the design and implementation of field experiments to evaluate policy and to test economic theory (for example, different ways of randomizing, determining appropriate sample sizes).

Students will see many practical examples of field experiments in different fields (for example, Labour Economics, Development Economics, Education).

Students will also be asked to design (in outline form) their own field study in order to think through issues from first-hand perspective.

The unit will consider field experiments in developing and developed country contexts.

Intended learning outcomes

1. Students will understand the benefits – and some limitations of – evaluating policy with field experiments

2. They will understand key elements in the practical design and implementation of field experiments designed to evaluate policy and test economic theory.

3. They will be able to apply key concepts to a practical policy setting

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 (100%)

Reading and References

List, J. and Rasul, I. (2014) “Field experiments in Labour Economics” NBER Working Paper no. 16062

Duflo, E., Glennerster, R. and Kremer, M. (2006) “Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit. NBER Technical Working Paper 333.

List, J., Sadoff, S. and Wagner, M. (2010) “So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some Simple Rules of Thumb for Optimal Experimental Design”. NBER Working Paper no. 15701