Computational Methods for Policy Analysis in AgriFood Markets

Course content

Students in the MSc programs in agricultural economics and related fields frequently encounter challenges in identifying and applying appropriate computational methods/models to conduct their master’s thesis research. This course aims at equipping students with several useful computational methods for conducting quantitative analysis of domestic and international agricultural and food markets and policy issues. These computational methods can also be used to address issues in the energy markets, the environment, and global changes as they relate to agricultural and food markets and policy.

In the first part of the course, we introduce and discuss essential policy issues in agricultural and food markets, especially in relation to how these issues relate to common global challenges. These include but not limited to: food and nutrition security, international agricultural trade and negotiations of trade agreements, domestic support to agriculture, agricultural development, interactions between agricultural and energy markets, and environmental and climate impacts of agricultural and food production and consumption.

In the second part of the course, we cover computational methods that are used frequently in analyzing the above issues, with the emphasis on simulation models that can establish and compare alternative policy options and can provide welfare economic analysis in regards to these options. In particular, we focus on multi-sectoral partial equilibrium models in both single and multi-country settings and single-country and multi-country computable general equilibrium models. This is to be supplemented by various frequently used econometric tools. Theory and structure of each method will be first presented in lectures. This is to be followed by hands-on tutorials on how to use these methods and models, often combined with replications of numerical results contained in published literature and extensions.  

The final element of the course is for the students to conduct their own research projects by analyzing relevant market and policy question, using one of the computational methods/models covered in this course. 


MSc Programme in Agricultural Economics
MSc Programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student should be able to: 


be well informed of the most recent academic literature in agricultural and food markets and policy, especially literature with distinct policy orientations and computational components 

be aware of latest development of policy issues arisen from actual policy discussions and can relate these developments to that of the relevant academic literature 

understand the economic and mathematical structure of most popular computational/quantitative economic tools widely used in agricultural and food markets and policy research 


be able to read, understand and critically review quantitative academic literature in agricultural and food markets and policy 

be able to identify interesting and relevant researchable questions through studying academic literature and/or policy reports 

be able to formulate research proposal and develop research plan for a concrete research project in agricultural and food markets and policy 

be able to identify and search for policy information and statistical data to support the proposed research agenda 

be able to choose and apply the appropriate computational methods/models to conduct quantitative economic analysis of identified research questions according to the objectives established in the proposed research agenda 

be able to draw conclusions and policy recommendations/​implications vis-a-vis the research question posed in the research project, from the numerical results drawn from the computational analysis 

be able to present the research projects, including the analysis and findings in written and oral forms   


Apply analytical skills and computational methods introduced/acquired from this course, to carry out the full process of a research project in the broad areas of agricultural and food markets and policy, including literature survey, identifying research question, formulating research proposal and plan, acquiring data, design the research method and strategy especially in relation to the choice and application of computational methods and models, implementing the proposed research project, and drafting the research report, and presenting the research finding.

Lectures, hands-on tutorials and computer lab sessions, student presentations and workshops, and individual studies.

List of literature to be discussed will be announced at the beginning of the course. Some of the readings will be proposed by students themselves, subject to approval from the teacher. Three types of literature will be used, as follows: 

1. Journal articles from major international journals in the areas of international economics, agricultural economics or development economics, such as Journal of International Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Review of International Economics, The World Economy, Review of World Economics, World Trade Review, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, European Review of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural Economics, and Applied Economic Perspective and Policy, as well as articles in leading general economics journals 

2. Chapters in relevant books/collected volumes on international trade and trade policy, as well as latest unpublished working papers by leading researchers 

3. Documentations and technical papers on computational/quantitative models

You should have solid agricultural economics competencies from your bachelor degree, including intermediate microeconomics, intermediate econometrics, international economics, and agricultural policy. Students with strong interests in policy issues in international agrifood markets will also benefit from taking Advanced International Trade before the current course, although this is not mandatory.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, made during the block
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Type of assessment details
Assessment of a project report written during the block. Weight: 70 %
Oral examination based on the submitted project report. Weight: 30%. No time for preparation.

Students must pass all part-examinations individually to pass the overall exam
Without aids

no aids for the oral exam.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

according to knowledge, skill and competency listed in the the learning outcome section.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Practical exercises
  • 15
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
no restrictions
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Wusheng Yu   (7-7c7a786d6a736c456e6b777433707a336970)

Wusheng Yu

Saved on the 28-02-2022

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