Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation

Course unit code: 570071

Academic year: 2019-2020

Coordinator: Daniel Albalate Del Sol

Department: Department of Econometrics, Statistics and Applied Economics

Credits: 5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 125


Face-to-face learning activities



-  Lecture




-  Problem-solving class




-  Practical exercises




-  IT-based class




-  Student presentation and discussion



Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


Basic competences

— Knowledge forming the basis of original thinking in the development or application of ideas, typically in a research context.

— Capacity to apply the acquired knowledge to problem-solving in new or relatively unknown environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of study.

— Capacity to communicate conclusions, judgments and the grounds on which they have been reached to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous manner.

— Skills to enable lifelong self-directed and independent learning.


General competences

— Ability to establish original research questions and hypotheses based on a relevant theoretical framework that can be tested empirically.

— Ability to thoroughly read and critically assess research papers in economics, to identify essential contributions and the frontier of knowledge.

— Ability to write scientific articles that can be published in journals of economics and to present them in international scientific conferences.

— Ability to produce financial reports for public or private organizations and communicate results clearly and in a precise manner.


Specific competences

— Capacity to recognize, analyse and assess the complexity, functioning and main challenges of socioeconomic reality, to contribute to the resolution of the economic problems it faces.

— Ability to implement knowledge and theory to the resolution of specific economic problems, typically in new and multidisciplinary contexts.

— Ability to formulate relevant economic problems with accuracy in areas such as market regulation, industrial organization and decision-making on public policy, and to propose solutions to those problems, using techniques learned from theoretical or empirical analysis and simulation.

— Ability to search and analyse data from real world economics, in order to fully understand it.





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

— Be introduced to the determinants of public policy decisions.

— Learn how to design public intervention.

— Review methodologies for the analysis and evaluation of public policies.

— Present instruments to make rational prioritisations of alternative public policies.

— Review empirical methods of programme evaluation.

— Analyse and learn from empirical papers that apply programme evaluation methods.

— Undertake project evaluation where empirical methods presented are implemented.



Teaching blocks


1. Introduction

1.1. Introduction to public policy

1.2. Basics of economic policy design: processes, actors and institutions

1.3. Selection among alternatives in public policy

2. The empirical evaluation of public policies; Methods

2.1. Experiments and randomisation

2.2. Matching

2.3. Differences-in-differences

2.4. Instrumental variables

2.5. Regression in discontinuity

2.6. Distributional impacts

2.7. Duration models

3. Cost-benefit analysis: economic evaluation of investments and policy programmes



Teaching methods and general organization


This introductory course on public policies aims at training students in decision-making for public policies. Through this approach, a combination of theoretical and empirical lectures is scheduled, where impact evaluation methods are applied, with presentations and discussion of papers and a final design of a public policy evaluation project.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


The final grade for continuous assessment is calculated as follows: 

— Public policy project design (1): 50%.

— Presentations (1), discussion of papers and exercises: 25%.

— One short multiple-choice test on the basics of the methods presented: 25%.


Examination-based assessment

The final grade for single assessment is calculated as follows: 

— Public policy project design (1): 50%. To be submitted by the date of the official exam. 

— One short multiple-choice test on the basics of the methods presented: 50%. On the date of the official exam. 



Reading and study resources

Consulteu la disponibilitat a CERCABIB


Khandker, S. Koolwal, G. and Samad, H. (2010) Handbook on impact evaluation: Quantitative methods and practices. The World Bank.

Catàleg UB  Enllaç

De Rus, G. (2010) Introduction to Cost-Benefit Analysis: Looking for Reasonable Shortcuts, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Catàleg UB  Enllaç

Gertler, P., Martinez, S., Premand, Patrick, Rawlings, L., Vermeersch, C. (2011) Impact Evaluation in Practice. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, Washington DC.

Catàleg UB  Enllaç