Policy evaluations are important for evidence-based decision-making. Policymakers need an understanding of the policies that worked, and those that haven’t, to make informed decisions. This course will develop your skills to confidently interpret the findings presented in evaluation studies and understand the intuition behind the most common evaluation tools. Attending this course will give participants the knowledge required to read, interpret and critically assess evaluation studies. Participants will learn about the possibilities and limitations of applying evaluation tools to a range of public policy areas.
You may be interested in a related, higher level course: Decision-making: using complex data
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Policy evaluations are important for evidence-based decision-making. Policymakers need an understanding of the policies that have worked (and those that haven’t) to make informed decisions. Evidence-based decision-making requires the ability to judge the quality and relevance of evaluation studies.
The course will cover four main topics:
- Counterfactual analysis 101: If kangaroos had no tails, they would topple over
- Experimental methods
- Non-experimental methods
- Examples and applications
The course will give an introduction to some of the key features of public policy evaluation, provide an overview of the types of data sources that are required to evaluate policy measures and explain the intuition behind the most common evaluation tools (such as randomisation, difference-in-difference estimation and regression discontinuity). The course will provide examples for the application of these tools to a range of public policy areas, including behavioural insights, tax and transfer policy, labour market policy, education policy, health policy, etc.
The course will provide participants with the knowledge they require to read, interpret and critically assess evaluation studies. The course will combine intuitive explanations with practical examples. The course is suitable for beginners and as a refresher for those with an economics/statistics background.
Associate Professor Mathias Sinning
Mathias Sinning is an Associate Professor at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. He has previously held academic appointments at the ANU and the University of Queensland and has been a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. Mathias is interested in the empirical analysis of issues related to labor economics, public economics and policy evaluation. He has published empirical research in a wide range of international peer-reviewed journals, including Economics of Education Review, Economic Inquiry, Health Economics, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Population Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics and Review of Income and Wealth. Mathias has extensive experience in applying experimental and non-experimental methods to evaluate policies and has worked with government departments on a range of projects, including on issues related to behavioral economics, labor economics and public economics.