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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[11/83]  ECONOMICS, FINANCE AND PUBLIC POLICY [83/10 - Ord. 2017]  Economia e Politiche Pubbliche 6 36


The aim of the course is to give students the knowledge and tools to independently out a public policy evaluation with the counterfactual methodology. The main challenge of these methods is to estimate the causal impact on one or more outcomes of interest of any generic 'treatment' or public intervention.
The students will
- achieve a critical knowledge of the approaches and conceptual tools which are used in the field of policy evaluation
- gain awareness of how interpretations and representations of the most significant international political phenomena influence public discourse and foreign policy decision making.
Specific soft skills — in particular critical analysis, communication skills (written and oral), english language skills, result-oriented teamwork — developed through class activities will allow students to apply such knowledge in different work areas .


Knowledge of basic statistical and econometric methods and of the main Microeconomics and Macroeconomics models. We suggest students to pass the exam of “Metodi di analisi econometrica” before this course.


The course aims to introduce the main approaches used in the evaluation of public policies dealing with the econometric tools that have been developed. In details:
• The potential outcome model and factual vs counterfactual
• Introduction to the counterfactual evaluation design
• Randomized Evaluations (Experiments)
• Non-experimental approaches and the difference-in-differences methodology
• The use of regression analysis and the IV estimator
• The propensity score matching
• The regression discontinuity design: Sharp e Fuzzy RD
• Interrupted time series analysis

Teaching Methods

The course will be structured so as to stimulate the active involvement of students. It will include traditional lecture method (60%), computer classes (30%), oral presentations and teamwork (10%).
Students will analyze the evaluations of a variety of programs and policy instruments through exercises and case studies. Simulation of the evaluation of policy programs with real data will be performed using the software STATA.
All these activities will be conducted with the aim of providing students useful tools for self-assessment and to enhance their soft skills as stated in the Learning outcomes.
Attendance at lectures is strongly encouraged, but is not considered compulsory. We also encourage a proactive attitude to learning.

To meet specific educational needs related to the epidemiological situation, the possibility of live streaming lessons or recordings of the same available online is provided. Furthermore, the exercises can be carried out by means of remote interaction forms with the available IT supports.

Verification of learning

To pass the exam profitably students will develop their ability to independently conduct and read critically the empirical literature on the subject. The score of the examination shall be awarded by a mark out of thirty.

Students regularly attending the course:
- oral presentation in-class of one or more case-studies of evaluation of public policies (25%);
- written exam (one hour and five minutes) where we ask you to answer questions regarding the course program and/or solve a series of practical exercises on the different methods of assessing policies addressed in the course (75%).
The presentation will imply working in group (2 max 3 students max).

Students not regularly attending the course:
a) a short essay (3000 words max) on one or more case-studies (25%);
- written exam (one hour and five minutes) where we ask you to solve a series of practical exercises on the different methods of assessing policies addressed in the course and/or answer questions regarding the course program (75%).

Students who are unable to attend the classes have to contact the teacher by e-mail for the final exam.
The final mark is expressed in thirtieths for both attendant and non-attendant students and represents the weighted average of the individual marks obtained in the two tests.
In the assessment of the exam, in addition to the overall preparation, the determination of the final mark takes into account the following elements: active participation of students in the lessons and exercises planned during the course, logic followed by the student in the preparation of the presentation (or thesis), oral communication skills (for presentation), written communication skills (for the essay), synthesis skills (for both the essay and the presentation). To report a grade between 18/30 and 21/30, the student must demonstrate that he or she is able to report the basic notions of the methodologies studied. For a grade between 22/30 and 26/30 the student must demonstrate that he or she has acquired at least a sufficient knowledge of the topics, and that he or she is able to correctly interpret the results of policy evaluations seen during the course. For a grade between 27/30 and 29/30 the student must demonstrate to have acquired high skills on the methodologies analyzed, and to be able to correctly interpret the results of evaluations of policies seen during the course. In order to achieve a score of 30/30 (or 30/30 with honors), the student must instead demonstrate that he or she has acquired an excellent knowledge of all the topics dealt with during the course and that he or she is able to critically report the specific in-depth subjects seen during the course.

Examination test variations due to COVID-19 emergency may be applied.


Suggested textbooks:
Angrist J. D. and J.-S. Pischke, 2009, Mostly Harmless Econometrics, An Empiricist´s Companion, Princeton University Press.
Angrist J. D. and J.-S. Pischke, 2014, Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect, Princeton University Press.
Martini A. and M. Sisti, 2009, Valutare il successo delle politiche pubbliche, Il Mulino.

Additional readings:
Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement Author(s): Joshua D. Angrist and Victor Lavy, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 114, No. 2 (May, 1999), pp. 533-575.
Angrist (1990), Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records, The American Economic Review, vol. 80.
Susan W. Parker and Graciela M. Teruel, Randomization and Social Program Evaluation: The Case of Progresa, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2005 599: 199.
Deidda et al., Employment subsidies, informal economy and womens transition into work in a depressed area: evidence from a matching approach, IZA Journal of Labor Policy (2015) 4:7
Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data, Author(s): Robert J. LaLonde, The American Economic Review, Vol. 76, No. 4 (Sep., 1986), pp. 604-620.
Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling, David Card, NBER Working Paper No. 4483, October 1993.

It is possible that more or different readings will be included.

More Information

Attending students will be able to use the datasets used during classes in order to practice independently. They will also be able to download the slides used by the teacher during the course.

Questionnaire and social

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