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DECO 1930A - Evaluation of Public Policies

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The main goal of this course is to provide a detailed understanding of impact evaluation methods, with a focus on randomized evaluations. Many of the topics covered, such as measuring outcomes and dealing with threats to the validity of an impact evaluation, are relevant for different impact evaluation methods. The main questions that will be addressed include: Why and when is a rigorous evaluation of social impact needed? What are the common pitfalls of evaluations, and why does randomization help? What are the key components of a good randomized evaluation design? How do you determine the appropriate sample size, measure outcomes, and manage data? What are the main difficulties when dealing with practitioners? What are the main difficulties when analyzing the results? How can you make your results useful for policy makers? The course will present material through interactive lectures and case studies using examples from completed or ongoing field experiments in development economics/education mostly.


CHARPENTIER, Axelle C. (Project Manager - Department of Economics, Sciences Po)

Course validation

Students will be assessed on the basis of a group project (50 %) and a final exam (50 %). For the group project, students will be by groups of 3. Over the course of the semester, each group will work on a proposal of a randomized evaluation on a topic of their choice. Different aspects of evaluation will be covered in the lectures and these should be reflected in the group proposal.

Required reading

  • Acemoglu D., "Theory, General Equilibrium, and Political Economy in Development Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2010.
  • Banerjee A. & E. Duflo, “The Experimental Approach to Development Economics”, Annual Review of Economics, 2009.
  • Deaton A., “Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development”, NBER working paper, 2009.
  • Gertler P. et al, Impact Evaluation in Practice, The World Bank, 2011. Pdf available on the Internet: (selected chapters to be indicated in class)
  • Glennerster R. & K. Takavarasha, Running Randomized Evaluations - A Practical Guide, Princeton University Press, 2013. (selected chapters to be indicated in class)

Additional required reading

  • Angrist J. & J.-S. Pischke, Mastering ‘Metrics. The Path from Cause to Effect, Princeton University Press, 2015.
  • Angrist J. & J.-S. Pischke, Mastering ‘Metrics. The Path from Cause to Effect, Princeton University Press, 2015.
  • List J., “Why Economists Should Conduct Field Experiments and 14 Tips for Pulling One Off”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2011.