Training Course

Policy evaluation methods

Date & Time

From: 14 July 2015
Until: 16 July 2015


Training Course


University of Southampton


HE Delegates: £90
Charity or Government: £180
Other Delegates: £660

This is a joint NCRM/cemmap training course.

This course will cover the main evaluation methods to estimate the causal impact on one or more outcomes of interest of any generic ‘treatment’ – from government programmes or policies, to the returns to education, or the impact of smoking on health. The course will include a mixture of lectures and computer workshops in which participants will apply the different methods to real data using Stata software.

The course covers:

  • The evaluation problem
  • Randomised social experiments
  • Naive non-experimental estimator
  • Natural experiments/instrumental variables
  • Regression methods
  • Matching methods
  • Longitudinal methods (before-after and difference-in-differences)

Each approach will be presented in intuitive terms before formally showing identification of the parameter of interest. The relative strengths and weaknesses of each approach will be extensively discussed, drawing from example applications in the literature. Each method will then be implemented in practical Stata sessions.

By the end of the course participants will:

  • be able to frame a variety of microeconometric problems into the evaluation framework, being aware of the concomitant methodological issues;
  • be discerning users of econometric output, able to interpret the results of applied work in the evaluation literature and to assess its strengths and limitations;
  • be able to access the more advanced evaluation literature to further deepen knowledge on their own;
  • be able to choose an appropriate evaluation strategy to estimate causal effects in different contexts; and
  • be able to use the Stata statistical packages to implement the different evaluation methods to real data.

The course is aimed at researchers and practitioners interested in gaining an understanding and working knowledge of evaluation methods. Participants may be PhD students or academic researchers in the social and health sciences or may work in government, the voluntary or the private sector. While the tutor comes from an economics background and will draw examples from that discipline, the tools the course focuses on are of general applicability.

Participants are expected to have a good working knowledge of basic statistical concepts (e.g. significance testing) and basic econometric tools like OLS regression and probit/logit models.

The practical part of the course will make use of Stata; although the exercises will be guided, basic familiarity with this software is strongly recommended (** I can provide basic pdf).

Please note that this is an intermediate-level course. While most emphasis will be devoted on imparting a practical understanding and a working knowledge of the different methods, the course does rely on notation and contains a certain degree of formalisation.


• £90 for UK registered students
• £180 for staff at UK academic institutions, UK Research Councils researchers, UK public sector staff and staff at UK registered charity organisations and recognised UK research institutions.
• £660 for all other participants