Seminar: Policy Evaluation Methods

Course content

This seminar offers students with an in-depth and thorough overview of various evaluation methods and their applications. The seminar will focus on empirical methods to solve an evaluation problem that require causal inference. The seminar encourages students to use various evaluation methods to identify the causal effect of a specific intervention. The seminar will familiarize students with some assumptions associated with each evaluation method and its implication under various empirical contexts. Thus, the seminar will enable students identify the advantages and shortcomings of alternative evaluation methods in various empirical contexts. Students may use alternative evaluation methods including regression analysis, matching methods, instrumental variable approach, difference-in-differences and regression discontinuity design to identify the causal effect of a specific program of interest.  


M.Sc. programme of Economics
The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome


The seminar covers a wider scope of economic and behavioral problems that require identification of causal effects. Thus, students may work on various economic problems that involve some evaluation problem requiring causal inference. For instance, topics may include evaluating the effect of a specific policy on various economic outcomes and behavioral decisions.

By the end of the seminar students will be able to:

  • Identify and apply appropriate microeconometric evaluation methods to estimate causal effects
  • Identify potential advantages and shortcomings of alternative evaluation methods
  • Understand the identification challenges associated with evaluating public policies
  • Identify and apply potential strategies to improve the validity of causal inference for a specific evaluation problem.

The teaching and learning method for the seminar involves: planning and introductory meeting at the beginning of the semester, and a period of supervision during semester. Students write seminar paper during the semester, and presentations are made at the end of the semester.

More specifically the structure of the seminar is organized as follows:
1. Introduction: the seminar starts by a 2-hour lecture given by the teacher on contemporary policy evaluation methods. Students can ask questions on the scope of the topics covered in the seminar. Afterwards, students can start working on their term paper on a specific topic.
2. Student presentations: towards the end of the semester students will present their term paper and serve as discussants for others in the group.
3. Term paper: students are required to write a 12-page paper and submit after their presentation. Students can use two types of data for writing the term paper: (a) appropriate micro data of their own that requires evaluation problem and causal inference.(b) They can also thoroughly reanalyze some influential papers in the literature. Students choosing this approach should discuss with the teacher at beginning of the semester to ensure the relevance of the paper they want to reanalyze.

  • Angrist, J.D. and J. Pischke (2009). Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's, Princeton University Press.
  • Wooldridge, J.M. (2010). Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. Second Edition, MIT Press. Chapter 21.


Further reading on specific topics of interest will be given at the beginning of the seminar.

B.Sc. in Economics
Students are required to have some econometrics knowledge at the level of Econometrics B and knowledge of advanced microeconometrics would be an advantage.

First group meeting: September 7, 2016 at 13 to 15 hrs, lasts for 2 hours. During this meeting, I will talk on contemporary policy evaluation methods and general overview of the seminar. Students can ask questions on the scope of the topics covered in the seminar.

The final group meeting takes place on 24 and 25 November (time for both dates: 10-15). During these meetings, students will present their term paper and serve as discussants for others in the group.

Throughout the semester, I will have some time for individual meetings with you.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
A written seminar paper in English.
All aids allowed

Al aids for the written seminarpaper.

For the oral presentation: Informed by the teacher.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
up to 20 % censorship at the seminarpaper
Criteria for exam assessment

The student must in a satisfactory way demonstrate that he/she has mastered the learning outcome of the course.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 18
  • Project work
  • 188
  • English
  • 206